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2STO- 14 



THE PHILADELPHIA NEGRO 



A SOCIAL STUDY 



/ 



BY 



.RD-r DU BOIS, Ph. D. 

W. E. 1 n tne University of Pennsylvania; Professor 

y in Atlanta University ; Author of 
"'The Suppr^ OC }n of the Africa^ Slave-Trade." 



TOGETHER WITH 

A SPECIAL REPORT ON DOMESTIC .SERVICE 

BY 

ISABEL EATON, A. M. 

Fellow of the College Settlements' Association 



Published for the University 

PHILADELPHIA 

1899 



GlNN & Co., Selling Agents, Tremont Place, I>< 



PRICE TWO / 

(Bo. 



Mi 



;r & 





publications 



OF THE 



1Hniv>ersit\> of Pennsylvania 



SERIES IN 

Political Economy and Public Law 



3STO. 14 

THE PHILADELPHIA NEGRO 

A SOCIAL STUDY 



BY 

W. E. BURGHARDT DU BOIS, Ph. D. 

Some time Assistant in Sociology in the University of Pennsylvania ; Professor 

of Economics and History in Atlanta University ; Author of 

" The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade." 

TOGETHER WITH 

A SPECIAL REPORT OlST DOMESTIC SERVICE 

BY 

ISABEL EATON, A. M. 
Fellow of the College Settlements' Association 



Published for the University 

PHILADELPHIA 

1899 

Ginn & Co., Selling Agents, Tremont Place, Boston, Mass. 



PREFACE. 



In November, 1897, I submitted to the American Academy 
of Political and Social Science a plan for the study of the 
Negro problems. 1 This work is an essay along the lines there 
laid down, and is thus part of a larger design of observation 
and research into the history and social condition of the trans- 
planted Africans. 

The opportunity of making this particular study was due 
to the initiative of Miss Susan P. Wharton, a Philadelphia 
woman active in practical social reform, and to the interest 
and generosity of Dr. Charles Custis Harrison, Provost of the 
University of Pennsylvania, and other citizens of Philadelphia. 

The Department of Finance and Economy (Wharton School) 
of the University of Pennsylvania had the general oversight 
of the work, and I am under many obligations to the profes- 
sors in that department for assistance and counsel. Especially 
am I indebted to Dr. Samuel McCune Lindsay, Assistant Pro- 
fessor of Sociology, for aid, advice and sympathy, without 
which the work could hardly have been brought to a success- 
ful close. 

I must also express the general sense of obligation which I 
feel toward the Negroes of Philadelphia, and especially toward 
those of the Seventh Ward, for their broad-minded attitude 
toward an inquiry which was at best a prying into private 
affairs. With no authority of law behind me, the whole suc- 
cess of the undertaking depended on voluntary co-operation, 
that they cannot be explained away by fantastic theories, 



1 Published in the Annans of the Academy for January, 1898. 

(iii) 



iv Preface. 

I am glad that, almost without exception, there was a disposi- 
tion to allow the full truth to be known for the sake of science 
and social reform. 

Many persons have rendered me assistance in various ways 
during the investigation. Among these I must especially 
mention the Rev. Henry L,. Phillips, Rector of the Church of 
the Crucifixion; Mr. George W. Mitchell, of the Philadelphia 
bar; Mr. W. Carl Bolivar, Mr. R. F. Adger, and Miss Isabel 
Eaton, Fellow of the College Settlements Association. Mr. 
W. M. Dorsey kindly placed his unique scrap-books at my 
disposal. 

As large numbers of the Philadelphia Negroes immigrate 
from Virginia, I spent the summer of 1897 in that State for my 
own enlightenment. The results of my observations were pub- 
lished in the Bulletin of the United States Department of Labor, 
for January, 1898, in a contribution entitled " The Negroes of 
Farmville: a Social Study." This must be regarded as a part 
of the present work. 

It is my earnest desire to pursue this particular form of study 
far enough to constitute a fair basis of induction as to the 
present condition of the American Negro. If, for instance, 
Boston in the East, Chicago and perhaps Kansas City in the 
West, and Atlanta, New Orleans and Galveston in the South, 
were studied in a similar way, we should have a trustworthy 
picture of Negro city life. Add to this an inquiry into simi- 
larly selected country districts, and certainly our knowledge of 
the Negro would be greatly increased. The department of 
history and economics of Atlanta University, where I am now 
situated, is pursuing certain lines of inquiry in this general 
direction. I hope that funds may be put at our disposal for 
this larger and more complete scheme. 

Finally, let me add that I trust that this study with all its 
errors and shortcomings will at least serve to emphasize the 
fact that the Negro problems are problems of human beings; 



Preface. v 

ungrounded assumptions or metaphysical subtleties. They 
present a field which the student must enter seriously, and 
cultivate carefully and honestly. And until he has prepared 
the ground by intelligent and discriminating research, the labors 
of philanthropist and statesman must continue to be, to a large 
extent, barren and unfruitful. 

W. B. BURGHARDT Du BoiS. 
Atlanta University, 
June ist, i8gg. 



INTRODUCTION. 



This inquiry into the condition of the Negroes of Philadel- 
phia was begun August i, 1896, and, with two months' inter- 
mission in the summer of 1897, was pursued continuously until 
January 1, 1898. Dr. Du Bois was engaged by the University 
of Pennsylvania as assistant in sociology during this period for 
the special purposes of the inquiry. He devoted all of his 
time to systematic field-work among the Negroes, especially in 
the Seventh Ward, attending their meetings, their churches, 
their business, social and political gatherings, visiting their 
schools and institutions, and, most important of all, conducting 
a house-to-house visitation in their families, through which he 
came in personal contact with over ten thousand Negro inhabit- 
ants of the city. He devoted his whole time to this laborious 
work, and the thanks of the University are due to him for his 
afterward taking such time as he could spare from his duties as 
professor of history and economics at Atlanta University to 
prepare the following complete and accurate report. Miss 
Eaton was engaged by the Philadelphia College Settlement for 
eight months of the above period, that is, from October 1, 1896, 
to June 1, 1897, to conduct, under the same general direction 
and in harmony with the methods of the larger inquiry, a 
special investigation of the conditions of Negro domestic ser- 
vice. She also devoted the whole period of her engagement to 
practical field-work and to house-to-house visitation, and 
kindly consented to prepare her report afterwards. Thus the 
inquiry represents a large amount of consecutive hard work 

(vii) 



viii Introduction. 

under the most favorable conditions of practical personal study 
of the problems encountered, while most of the book- work 
necessary to give the proper historical setting to the reports of 
these trained observers was done subsequently to the inquiry 
itself. 

The inquiry owes its origin to Miss Susan P. Wharton, at 
the time a member of the Executive Committee of the Phila- 
delphia College Settlement. In addition to her sympathy with 
the unfortunate and her desire to help them she realizes the 
value of knowledge as a guide in true philanthropy. Being 
herself a resident of the Seventh Ward, where the largest 
Negro settlements of the city are located, and in her work at 
the College Settlement being deeply impressed with the serious 
character of some of the Negro problems, she had already early 
in 1895 called together for conference at her house persons 
interested in the welfare of this race. In a letter addressed to 
the Provost of the University, Dr. Charles Custis Harrison, 
under date of May 30, 1895, she asked for the co-operation of 
the University, saying : ' ' We should like the co-operation of 
the University in a plan for the better understanding of the 
colored people, especially of their position in this city. Mr. 
Robert C. Ogden, Mr. Talcott Williams, Mrs. Coppin and 
myself are interested in a plan to obtain a body of reliable 
information as to the obstacles to be encountered by the colored 
people in their endeavor to be self-supporting, etc. Is the Uni- 
versity interested in sociological work of this kind ? Could it 
help to collect information in any of the ways mentioned by 
Mr. Williams in the enclosed letter ? The College Settlement 
wishes to co-operate in the movement and will probably engage 
a woman who can reside in St. Mary Street. Dr. Devine 
thought there might be some one graduating from the Univer- 
sity this year who would be interested in such an investigation. 
Mrs. Coppin will have a centre for such information as comes 
best through the colored people themselves. ... If you 



Introduction. ix 

see any way in which the University could take part will you 
send me a line by the end of this week. We hope to formulate 
a plan in a few days." 

To no one more sympathetic could Miss Wharton have gone 
than to the Provost, who has been so long conspicuously iden- 
tified with the best philanthropy in the city and State. More- 
over, his ideal of the place of the University in the modern 
community, and of its responsibilities for public usefulness, 
caused him to welcome the suggestion that the University 
should have a part in a work with a distinctly ethical aim and 
to be based on accurate scientific study and investigation. To 
show even more clearly the relation of the University to the 
inquiry we may quote a few lines from a letter which the Pro- 
vost sent out to a few friends of the University in order to raise 
the necessary funds for its part in the work : 

In association with the College Settlement, the University of Pennsyl- 
vania has been asked to take part in a social movement of the following 
character. It has to do with the condition of the colored people in Phila- 
delphia, and with a quiet, earnest effort to improve their condition. 

It is proposed to take a ward in the city and to study the actual condi- 
tion of the colored people in that ward. The University will designate a 
trained observer; the College Settlement will also supply a similar 
observer. The visitation will be from house to house. The present 
actual conditions will thus be ascertained with as close an approximation 
to accuracy as possible, and the results, with the statistics, will be pub- 
lished by the University. We shall then have a body of facts upon which 
to work. We shall know, inter alia, from what occupations colored 
people are excluded, and we shall be able to endeavor to open new 
employments to colored people, both men and women. 

The object in view has met the approval of thoughtful people and we 
would like to carry it out. . . . My attention has been called to work 
of a similar character which has attracted the attention of Columbia 
College. President Low made use of the following words, which I desire 
to repeat, as applicable to our effort: " Science tells very plainly that we 
must not despise raw or crude materials. In fact, practical scientific 



X 



Introduction. 



work of to-day is directed more toward the utilization of waste materials 
than the discovery of new things. Those who despise the poor and the 
outcast, and declare that nothing can be done for their uplifting, have 
failed to learn a great lesson that Christ would teach us. The city prob- 
lems are the problems of the world, and always will be until we come to 
the new city, the heavenly Jerusalem." 

A parlor meeting was held at Miss Wharton's house in the 
late fall of 1896, Provost Harrison presiding. The plan 
referred to was drawn up by the University and presented with 
explanations of the methods which it was desired to pursue, 
and with some account of a similar work on a still larger scale 
which had been successfully prosecuted by Mr. Charles Booth 
in London and the Hull House in Chicago, — investigations 
leading in the one case to the publication of Mr. Booth's monu- 
mental volumes on the ' ' Life and Labor of the People of 
London," and in the other to the valuable volume of " Hull 
House Maps and Papers." Addresses were made at this gath- 
ering by such representative colored leaders as Mrs. Coppin and 
the Rev. Mr. Phillips, and by Miss Wharton, Provost Harri- 
son, Mr. Isaac Clothier and others. The Provost formally 
announced that the University was ready to undertake the 
direction of the investigation, the appointment of one special 
observer, and the publication of such results of the entire 
inquiry as might prove of permanent value. As a result of 
this meeting plans were soon completed and the work of secur- 
ing the requisite funds and qualified investigators was begun. 

Dr. William B. Burghardt Du Bois, a graduate of Fisk and 
Harvard Universities, and also of the Graduate Department of 
Harvard, came to us from Wilberforce University, where, at 
the time of his appointment, he was Professor of Ancient 
Languages. His major work at Harvard, and during a con- 
siderable period of study in Germany, had been history and 
sociology. His admirable volume on ' ' The History of the 
African Slave Trade," published as the first volume in the 



Introduction. xi 

Harvard Historical Studies, was at the time in press. Both his 
training and personal qualifications for the projected work 
proved to be far greater than our highest expectations, and his 
signal services in the educational uplift of his people, both 
before and since his term of service at the University of Penn- 
sylvania, have won for him a public recognition that renders 
any personal introduction of Dr. Du Bois quite unnecessary. 

The College Settlement was not less fortunate in securing the 
services of an efficient college woman for its part of the work. 
Miss Katon is a graduate of Smith College, and has had expe- 
rience in practical investigation. While Fellow of the College 
Settlements Association, she made and published a careful 
statistical study of the condition of wage-earners in the garment 
trades in New York and Chicago. Her report for the present 
inquiry has already received recognition from Columbia Uni- 
versity, where it was accepted as partial fulfillment of the con- 
ditions for the Master of Arts degree. 

It is hardly necessary to refer to the original plan of the 
investigation, because it was adhered to in all its salient fea- 
tures, though modified in minor details as suggested by expe- 
rience, and the results and methods described in the following 
pages speak for themselves. 

The purpose of the inquiry is to furnish local agencies and 
individuals, interested in improving the condition of the Negro 
population of Philadelphia, a more comprehensive knowledge of 
the existing condition of Negroes, so that such work may be 
directed in the most helpful channels. It will not be amiss, 
therefore, to call attention in this place to some of the more 
significant points brought out in the report. 

The Negroes, as an element in the total population of the 
city, are growing in numbers more rapidly than the whites, the 
rate of increase being due rather to immigration than to natural 
increase. In 1890, however, the Negro constituted less than 
four per cent of the total population, which was about the 



xii Introduction. 

percentage for each of the three preceding decades, and much 
less than that for any decade in this century prior to i860 (49). l 
Insignificant as four per cent may seem, it represents over 
40,000 souls, and was a larger absolute Negro population than 
was found in any other city of the country, excepting Wash- 
ington, Baltimore and New Orleans (53). This population is 
placed in a city which combines in many curious ways the 
characteristics of both North and South. Its Negro popula- 
tion is moreover peculiar in its excess of females and of young 
persons, men and women, between the ages of eighteen and 
thirty-five (55). More help should be extended to Negro 
working- women, the majority of whom are at domestic ser- 
vice. In general their health is good, because they are better 
fed and housed than persons in other employments who provide 
their own meals and lodgings (496). More opportunities are 
needed for healthy amusement for domestics on their " days 
out " than are provided by the Negro churches (468); also more 
direction and legal protection concerning methods of saving 
and mutual benefit societies. The relation of mistress and ser- 
vant is a problem in which the Negro domestic is not peculiar, 
but is involved in what is being done for a better adjustment of 
this relationship in general (500 ff . ). Still the question remains : 
Why the abnormal excess of females in this city Negro popu- 
lation ? The limited occupations open to men have much to do 
with it (55). Thus the women will be helped by every increase 
in employments for men which will make the relative numbers 
of the sexes more normal. The present abnormal sex distri- 
bution has caused considerable crime and moral degradation. 
This is still further accentuated by the fact that an abnormal 
age structure explains if it does not condone the most preva- 
lent crimes (259). 

The chief problem of the Philadelphia Negro is not that of 
1 ' sheer ignorance, ' ' for the percentage of illiteracy, as illiteracy 

1 Figures in parentheses refer to pages in the volume. 



Introduction. xiii 

is measured statistically, is low (92). Yet when one asks seri- 
ously: What kind of education have these people received ? 
and, How is it suited to their economic and social status ? the 
educational problem assumes large proportions. In the case of 
a race still in its infancy in social development, a race which 
lacks most of the safe-guarding instincts of its stronger com- 
petitor, the education of each child for direct economic inde- 
pendence is of vital import. More should also be done for adult 
Negro education. The laboring men need training in organi- 
zation and in esprit dy, corps (130), and must be enabled to 
diversify their employments and maintain a higher grade of 
efficiency in lines where they are being eliminated in the eco- 
nomic struggle for survival. The male as well as female ser- 
vant class — the class which predominates in employments — 
needs training in the laws of health and hygiene, as well as in 
the technical knowledge of cleaning, cooking and household 
etiquette. The high death-rate of the Negro is largely due to 
the condition of living, rather than to marked racial weak- 
nesses (156), and to the widespread ignorance of the laws of 
health (160). The family life needs strengthening at every 
point — a work in which the churches might do more than at 
present. The Negro church is strong as a social institution, 
but under present conditions it absorbs relatively too large a 
proportion of the family income, which could be spent more 
profitably on the social activities of the home (195 ff.). 

The housing problem is one of the most serious among Phila- 
delphia Negroes. With the present progress in housing reform 
among the poorer classes of whites and the foreign population 
it should be easy to apply effective remedies. Negroes now 
pay abnormally high rents for the poorest accommodations, 
and race-prejudice accentuates this difficulty, out of which 
many evils grow (295). 

Many readers of this report will look most eagerly for what 
is said on the subject of race-prejudice and the so-called " color 



xiv Introduction. 

line." I feel sure that no one can read Chapter XVI without 
being impressed with the impartiality and self-control of the 
writer. Dr. Du Bois has treated the facts he obtained with the 
delicacy of an artist, and I would not wish to mar his state- 
ment of the truth as he sees it by any attempt to re-state it. In 
this connection another presentation of this difficult theme, by 
the same author, and published some time ago in the Atlantic 
Monthly, will be read with interest. The report shows clearly 
that the better-educated classes among the Philadelphia 
Negroes feel very keenly the injustice of the class antagonism 
that comes from the indiscriminate classing of all Negroes 
together, and the imputing to all of the short-comings of the 
ignorant, vicious and criminal. This fact, and the proof that 
such is the habit among the bulk of the white population, 
comes out frequently in the following pages (339) (489). From 
the very nature of his task Dr. Du Bois has wisely refrained 
for the most part from drawing conclusions or introducing any- 
thing that savors of personal judgment. It is therefore a seri- 
ous charge, and worthy of reflection, when he is constrained to 
say in one place (352): " Thus the class of Negroes which the 
prejudices of the city have distinctly encouraged is that of the 
criminal, the lazy and the shiftless; for them the city teems 
with institutions and charities; for them there is succor and 
sympathy; for them Philadelphians are thinking and planning; 
but for the educated and industrious young colored man who 
wants work and not [platitudes, wages and not alms, just 
rewards and not sermons — for such colored men Philadelphia 
apparently has no use." Of the truthfulness or falsity of this 
statement may the careful perusal of this report furnish evi- 
dence that will lead to honest convictions and corresponding 
action on the part of the citizens of Philadelphia, for it sums 
up the pivotal problem of all the Negro problems of the city. 
If the Negroes themselves, that is their upper ranks, cannot 
command these privileges and secure them, or, if competent to 



Introduction. xv 

possess them, they are denied the possession by the organized 
prejudices of the stronger race around them, and these preju- 
dices cannot be broken down, then scientific philanthropy is 
helpless to point the way to their improvement, and the present 
haphazard efforts of unthinking charity would better cease 
altogether. In the last analysis the rise of the Negro is apt to 
be in proportion to the ability of the upper classes of his race 
to infuse the lower strata of Negro society with the intellectual 
and moral requisites of economic survival which they them- 
selves possess. 

SAMUKL McCUNE IylNDSAY. 

University of Pennsylvania, 
June, 1899. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



PAGE. 

Preface iii-v 

Introduction vii-xv 

THE PHILADELPHIA NEGRO. 

Chapter I. The Scope of This Study 1-4 

1. General aim 1 

2. The methods of inquiry 1 

3. The credibility of the results 2 

Chapter II. The Problem 5-9 

4. The Negro problems of Philadelphia . 5 

5. The plan of presentment 8 

Chapter III. The Negro in Philadelphia, 1638-1820 .... 10-24 

6. General survey 10 

7. The transplanting of the Negro, 1638- 

1760 * 11 

8. Emancipation, 1760-1780 15 

9. The rise of the freedmen, 1780-1820 . . 17 

Chapter IV. The Negro in Philadelphia, 1820-1896 .... 25-45 

10. Fugitives and foreigners, 1820-1840 . . 25 

11. The guild of the caterers, 1840-1870 . . 32 

12. The influx of the freedmen, 1870-1896 39 

Chapter V. The Size, Age and Sex of the Negro Popula- 
tion 46-65 

13. The city for a century 46 

14. The Seventh Ward, 1896 58 

Chapter VI. Conjugal Condition 66-72 

15. The Seventh Ward 66 

16. The city 70 

(xvii) 



xviii Contents, 

PAGE. 

Chapter VII. Sources of the Negro Population 73-82 

17. The Seventh Ward 73 

18. The city 80 

Chapter VIII. Education and Illiteracy 83-96 

19. The history of Negro education . t . . 83 

20. The present condition 89 

Chapter IX. The Occupation of Negroes 97-146 

21. The question of earning a living . . 97 

22. Occupations in the Seventh Ward . . 99 

23. Occupations in the city in 

24. History of the occupations of Negroes 141 

Chapter X. The Health of Negroes 147-163 

25. The interpretation of statistics . . . . 147 

26. The statistics of the city 149 

Chapter XI. The Negro Family 164-196 

27. The size of the family 164 

28. Incomes 168 

29. Property 179 

30. Family life 192 

Chapter XII. The Organized Life of Negroes 197-234 

31. History of the Negro church in Phila- 

delphia 197 

32. The function of the Negro church . . 201 

33. The present condition of the churches 207 

34. Secret and beneficial societies and co- 

operative business 221 

35. Institutions 230 

36. The experiment of organization . . . 233 

Chapter XIII. The Negro Criminal 235-268 

37. History of Negro crime in the city . . 235 

38. Negro crime since the war 240 

39. A special study in crime 248 

40. Some cases of crime 259 

Chapter XIV. Pauperism and Alcoholism 269-286 

41. Pauperism .... 269 

42. The drink habit 277 

43. The causes of crime and poverty . . 282 



Contents. xix 

PAGE. 

Chapter XV. The Environment of the Negro 287-321 

44. Houses and rent 287 

45. Sections and wards 299 

46. Social classes and amusements . . . 309 

Chapter XVI. The Contact of the Races 322-367 

47. Color prejudice 322 

48. Benevolence 355 

49. The intermarriage of the races . . . 358 
Chapter XVII. Negro Suffrage 368-384 

50. The significance of the experiment . 368 

51. The history of Negro suffrage in Penn- 

sylvania 368 

52. City politics 372 

53. Some bad results of Negro suffrage * 373 

54. Some good results of Negro suffrage . 382 

55. The paradox of reform 383 

Chapter XVIII. A Final Word 385-397 

56. The meaning of all this 385 

57. The duty of the Negroes 389 

58. The duty of the whites 393 

Appendix A. Schedules used in the house-to-house inquiry . . 400-410 
Appendix B. Legislation, etc., of Pennsylvania in regard to the 

Negro 411-418 

Appendix C. Bibliography 419-421 



SPECIAL REPORT ON NEGRO DOMESTIC SERVICE 
IN THE SEVENTH WARD. 

I. Introduction 427-429 

II. Enumeration of Negro domestic servants 430-434 

Recent reform in domestic service 43° 

Enumeration 43 1 

III. Sources of the supply and methods of hiring 435 - 443 

Methods of hiring 436 

Personnel of colored domestic service 436 

IV. Grades of service and wages 444-455 

Work required of various sub-occupations ..... 454 



xx Contents. 

PAGE. 

V. Savings and expenditure 456-462 

Assistance given by domestic servants 459 

Summary 462 

VI. Amusements and recreations 463-473 

VII. Length and quality of Negro domestic service 474-489 

VIII. Conjugal condition, illiteracy and health of Negro do- 
mestics 490-499 

Conjugal condition 490 

Health statistics for domestic servants 495 

IX. Ideals of betterment 500-509 

Index 511-520 

MAPS. 
I. Map of Seventh Ward, showing streets and political divi- 
sions Facing page 60 

II. Map of Seventh Ward, showing distribution of Negro in- 
habitants~throughout the ward, and their social condi- 
tion Facing page 1 



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The Distribution of Negro Inhabitants Throughout the Ward, 
and their social condition 

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THE PHILADELPHIA NEGPO. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE SCOPE OF THIS STUDY. 

i. General Aim. — This study seeks to present the results 
of an inquiry undertaken by the University of Pennsylvania 
into the condition of the forty thousand or more people of 
Negro blood now living in the city of Philadelphia. This 
inquiry extended over a period of fifteen months and sought 
to ascertain something of the geographical distribution of 
this race, their occupations and daily life, their homes, their 
organizations, and, above all, their relation to their million 
white fellow-citizens. The final design of the work is to 
lay before the public such a body of information as may be 
a' safe guide for all efforts toward the solution of the many 
Negro problems of a great American city. 

2. The Methods of Inquiry. — The investigation began 
August the first, 1896, and, saving two months, continued 
until December the thirty-first, 1897. The work com- 
menced with a house-to-house canvass of the Seventh 
Ward. This long narrow ward, extending from South 
Seventh street to the Schuylkill River and from Spruce 
street to South street, is an historic centre of Negro popu- 
lation, and contains to-day a fifth of all the Negroes in 
this city. 1 It was therefore thought best to make an 



1 1 shall throughout this study use the term " Negro," to designate all 
persons of Negro descent, although the appellation is to some extent 
illogical. I shall, moreover, capitalize the word, because I believe that 
eight million Americans are entitled to a capital letter. 

(0 



2 The Scope of This Study. [Chap. I. 

intensive study of conditions in this district, and afterward 
to supplement and correct this information by general 
observation and inquiry in other parts of the city. 

Six schedules were used among the nine thousand 
Negroes of this ward ; a family schedule with the usual 
questions as to the number of members, their age and sex, 
their conjugal condition and birthplace, their ability to 
read and write, their occupation and earnings, etc. ; an 
individual schedule with similar inquiries ; a home 
schedule with questions as to the number of rooms, the 
rent, the lodgers, the conveniences, etc. ; a street schedule 
to collect data as to the various small streets and alleys, 
and an institution schedule for organizations and institu- 
tions ; finally a slight variation of the individual schedule 
was used for house-servants living at their places of employ- 
ment. 2 

This study of the central district of Negro settlement 
furnished a key to the situation in the city ; in the other 
wards therefore a general survey was taken to note any 
striking differences of condition, to ascertain the general 
distribution of these people, and to collect information and 
statistics as to organizations, property, crime and pauperism, 
political activity, and the like. This general inquiry, while 
it lacked precise methods of measurement in most cases, 
served nevertheless to correct the errors and illustrate the 
meaning of the statistical material obtained in the house- 
to-house canvass. 

Throughout the study such official statistics and histori- 
cal matter as seemed reliable were used, and experienced 
persons, both white and colored, were freely consulted. 

3. The Credibility of the Results. — The best available 
methods of sociological research are at present so liable to 
inaccuracies that the careful student discloses the results 
of individual research with diffidence ; he knows that they 
are liable to error from the seemingly ineradicable faults of 



2 See Appendix A for form of schedules used. 



Sect. 3.] The Credibility of the Results. 3 

the statistical method, to even greater error from the 
methods of general observation, and, above all, he must 
ever tremble lest some personal bias, some moral conviction 
or some unconscious trend of thought due to previous 
training, has to a degree distorted the picture in his view. 
Convictions on all great matters of human interest one 
must have to a greater or less degree, and they will enter 
to some extent into the most cold-blooded scientific research 
as a disturbing factor. 

Nevertheless here are social problems before us demand- 
ing careful study, questions awaiting satisfactory answers. 
We must study, we must investigate, we must attempt to 
solve ; and the utmost that the world can demand is, not 
lack of human interest and moral conviction, but rather 
the heart-quality of fairness, and an earnest desire for the 
truth despite its possible unpleasantness. 

In a house-to-house investigation there are, outside the 
attitude of the investigator, many sources of error: mis- 
apprehension, vagueness and forgetfulness, and deliberate 
deception on the part of the persons questioned, greatly 
vitiate the value of the answers ; on the other hand, con- 
clusions formed by the best trained and most conscientious 
students on the basis of general observation and inquiry 
are really inductions from but a few of the multitudinous 
facts of social life, and these may easily fall far short of 
being essential or typical. 

The use of both of these methods which has been 
attempted in this study may perhaps have corrected to 
some extent the errors of each. Again, whatever personal 
equation is to be allowed for in the whole study is one 
unvarying quantity, since the work was done by one inves- 
tigator, and the varying judgments of a score of census- 
takers was thus avoided. 3 



3 The appended study of domestic service was done by Miss Isabel 
Eaton, Fellow of the College Settlements Association. Outside of this 
the work was done by the one investigator. 



4 The Scope of This Study. [Chap. I. 

Despite all drawbacks and difficulties, however, the 
main results of the inquiry seem credible. They agree, to 
a large extent, with general public opinion, and in other 
respects they seem either logically explicable or in accord 
with historical precedents. They are therefore presented 
to the public, not as complete and without error, but as 
possessing on the whole enough reliable matter to serve as 
the scientific basis of further study, and of practical reform. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE PROBLEM. 

4. The Negro Problems of Philadelphia. — In Phila- 
delphia, as elsewhere in the United States, the existence of 
certain peculiar social problems affecting the Negro people 
are plainly manifest. • Here is a large group of people — 
perhaps forty-five thousand, a city within a city — who do 
not form an integral part of the larger social group. This 
in itself is not altogether unusual ; there are other unassim- 
ilated groups : Jews, Italians, even Americans ; and yet 
in the case of the Negroes the segregation is more con- 
spicuous, more patent to the eye, and so intertwined with 
a long historic evolution, with peculiarly pressing social 
problems of poverty, ignorance, crime and labor, that the 
Negro problem far surpasses in scientific interest and social 
gravity, most of the other race or class questions. 

The student of these questions must first ask, What is 
the real condition of this group of human beings ? of 
whom is it composed, what sub-groups and classes exist, 
what sort of individuals are being considered ? further, the 
student must clearly recognize that a complete study must 
not confine itself to the group, but must specially notice 
the environment ; the physical environment of city, sec- 
tions and houses, the far mightier social environment — the 
surrounding world of custom, wish, whim, and thought 
which envelops this group and powerfully influences its 
social development. 

Nor does the clear recognition of the field of investiga- 
tion simplify the work of actual study ; it rather increases 
it, by revealing lines of inquiry far broader in scope than 
first thought suggests. To the average Philadelphian the 

(5) 



6 The Problem. [Chap. II. 

whole Negro question reduces itself to 'a study of certain 
slum districts. His mind reverts to Seventh and Lombard 
streets and to Twelfth and Kater streets of to-day, or to 
St. Mary's in the past. Continued and widely known 
charitable work in these sections make the problem of 
poverty familiar to him ; bold and daring crime too often 
traced to these centres has called his attention to a prob- 
lem of crime, while the scores of loafers, idlers and pros- 
titutes who crowd the sidewalks here night and day 
remind him of a problem of work. 

All this is true — all these problems are there and of 
threatening intricacy ; unfortunately, however, the interest 
of the ordinary man of affairs is apt to stop here. Crime, 
poverty and idleness affect his interests unfavorably and 
he would have them stopped ; he looks upon these slums 
and slum characters as unpleasant things which should in 
some way be removed for the best interests of all. The 
social student agrees with him so far, but must point out 
that the removal of unpleasant features from our compli- 
cated modern life is a delicate operation requiring know- 
ledge and skill ; that a slum is not a simple fact, it is a 
symptom, and that to know the removable causes of the 
Negro slums of Philadelphia requires a study that takes 
one far beyond the slum districts. For few Philadelphians 
realize how the Negro population has grown and spread. 
There was a time in the memory of living men when a 
small district near Sixth and Lombard streets compre- 
hended the great mass of the Negro population of the 
city. This is no longer so. Very early the stream of the 
black population started northward, but the increased 
foreign immigration of 1830 and later, turned it back. 
It started south also but was checked by poor houses and 
worse police protection. Finally with gathered momen- 
tum the emigration from the slums started west, rolling on 
slowly and surely taking Lombard street as its main 
thoroughfare, gaining early foothold in West Philadelphia, 



Sect. 4.] The Negro Problems of Philadelphia. 7 

and turning at the Schuylkill River north and south to 
the newer portions of the city. 

Thus to-day the Negroes are scattered in every ward of 
the city, and the great mass of them live far from the whilom 
centre of colored settlement. What, then, of this great 
mass of the population ? Manifestly they form a class 
with social problems of their own — the problems of the 
Thirtieth Ward differ from the problems of the Fifth, as 
the black inhabitants differ. In the former ward we have 
represented the rank and file of Negro working-people ; 
laborers and servants, -porters and waiters. This is at pres- 
ent the great middle class of Negroes feeding the slums 
on the one hand and the upper class on the other. Here 
are social questions and conditions which must receive the 
most careful attention and patient interpretation. 

Not even here, however, can the social investigator stop. 
He knows that every group has its upper class ; it may be 
numerically small and socially of little weight, and yet its 
study is necessary to the comprehension of the whole — it 
forms the realized ideal of the group, and as it is true that 
a nation must to some extent be measured by its slums, it 
is also true that it can only be understood and finally judged 
by its upper class. 

The best. class of Philadelphia Negroes, though some- 
times forgotten or ignored in discussing the Negro prob- 
lems, is nevertheless known to many Philadelphians. 
Scattered throughout the better parts of the Seventh 
Ward, and on Twelfth, lower Seventeenth and Nineteenth 
streets, and here and there in the residence wards of the 
northern, southern, and western sections of the city is a class 
of caterers, clerks, teachers, professional men, small mer- 
chants, etc., who constitute the aristocracy of the Negroes. 
Many are well-to-do, some are wealthy, all are fairly edu- 
cated, and some liberally trained. Here too are social 
problems — differing from those of the other classes, and 
differing too from those of the whites of a corresponding 



8 The Problem. [Chap. II. 

grade, because of the peculiar social environment in which 
the whole race finds itself, which the whole race feels, but 
which touches this highest class at most points and tells 
upon them most decisively. 

Many are the misapprehensions and misstatements as to 
the social environment of Negroes in a great Northern city. 
Sometimes it is said, here they are free ; they have the 
same chance as the Irishman, the Italian, or the Swede ; at 
other times it is said, the environment is such that it is 
really more oppressive than the situation in Southern cities. 
The student must ignore both of these extreme statements 
and seek to extract from a complicated mass of facts the 
tangible evidence of a social atmosphere surrounding 
Negroes, which differs from that surrounding most whites ; 
of a different mental attitude, moral standard, and economic 
judgment shown toward Negroes than toward most other 
folk. That such a difference exists and can now and then 
plainly be seen, few deny ; but just how far it goes and 
how large a factor it is in the Negro problems, nothing but 
careful study and measurement can reveal. 

Such then are the phenomena of social condition and 
environment which this study proposes to describe, analyze, 
and, so far as possible, interpret. 

5. Plan of Presentment. — The study as taken up here 
divides itself roughly into four parts : the history of the 
Negro people in the city, their present condition considered 
as individuals, their condition as an organized social group, 
and their physical and social environment. To the history 
of the Negro but two chapters are devoted — a brief sketch 
— although the subject is worthy of more extended study 
than the character of this essay permitted. 

Six chapters consider the general condition of the 
Negroes: their number, age, and sex, conjugal condition, 
and birthplace ; what degree of education they have 
obtained, and how they earn a living. All these subjects 
are treated usually for the Seventh Ward somewhat 



Sect. 5.] Plan of Presentment. 9 

minutely, then more generally for the city, and finally such 
historical material is adduced as is available for com- 
parison. 

Three chapters are devoted to the group life of the 
Negro ; this includes a study of the family, of property, and 
of organizations of all sorts. It also takes up such phe- 
nomena of social maladjustment and individual depravity 
as crime, pauperism and alcoholism. 

One chapter is devoted to the difficult question of en- 
vironment, both physical and social, one to certain results 
of the contact of the white and black races, one to Negro 
suffrage, and a word of general advice in the line of social 
reform is added. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE NEGRO IN PHILADELPHIA, 1638-182O. 

6. General Survey. — Few States present better oppor- 
tunities for the continuous study of a group of Negroes 
than Pennsylvania. The Negroes were brought here early, 
were held as slaves along with many white serfs. They 
became the subjects of a protracted abolition controversy, 
and were finally emancipated by gradual process. Although, 
for the most part, in a low and degraded condition, and 
thrown upon their own resources in competition with white 
labor, they were nevertheless so inspired by their new free- 
dom and so guided by able leaders that for something like 
forty years they made commendable progress. Meantime, 
however, the immigration of foreign laborers began, the 
new economic era of manufacturing was manifest in the 
land, and a national movement for the abolition of slavery 
had its inception. The lack of skilled Negro laborers for 
the factories, the continual stream of Southern fugitives 
and rural freedmen into the city, the intense race antipathy 
of the Irish and others, together with intensified prejudice 
of whites who did not approve of agitation against slavery 
— all this served to check the development of the Negro, 
to increase crime and pauperism, and at one period resulted 
in riot, violence, and bloodshed, which drove many Negroes 
from the city. 

Economic adjustment and the enforcement of law finally 
allayed this excitement, and another period of material 
prosperity and advance among the Negroes followed. Then 
came the inpouring of the newly emancipated blacks from 
the South and the economic struggle of the artisans to main- 
tain wages, which brought on a crisis in the city, manifested 
again by idleness, crime and pauperism. 

(10) 



Sect. 7.] Transplanting of the Negro, 1638-1760. 11 

Thus we see that twice the Philadelphia Negro has, with 
a fair measure of success, begun an interesting social devel- 
opment, and twice through the migration of barbarians a 
dark age has settled on his age of revival. These same 
phenomena would have marked the advance of many other 
elements of our population if they had been as definitely 
isolated into one indivisible group. No differences of social 
condition allowed any Negro to escape from the group, 
although such escape was continually the rule among Irish, 
Germans and other whites. 

7. The Transplanting of the Negro, 1638-1760. — The 
Dutch, and possibly the Swedes, had already planted 
slavery on the Delaware when Penn and the Quakers 
arrived in 1682. 1 One of Penn's first acts was tacitly to 
recognize the serfdom of Negroes by a provision of the 
Free Society of Traders that they should serve fourteen 
years and then become serfs — a provision which he himself 
and all the others soon violated. 2 

Certain German settlers who came soon after Penn, and 
who may or may not have been active members of the 
Society of Friends, protested sturdily against slavery in 
1688, but the Quakers found the matter too "weighty." 3 
Five years later the radical seceders under Kieth make the 
existence of slavery a part of their attack on the society. 
Nevertheless the institution of slavery in the colony con- 
tinued to grow, and the number of blacks in Philadelphia 
so increased that as early as 1693 we find an order of the 



1 Cf. Scharf-Westcott's "History of Philadelphia," I, 65, 76. DuBois' 
"Slave Trade," p. 24. 

2 Hazard's "Annals," 553. Thomas' "Attitude of Friends Toward 
Slavery," 266. 

3 There is some controversy as to whether these Germans were actually 
Friends or not; the weight of testimony seems to be that they were. 
See, however, Thomas as above, p. 267, and Appendix. " Pennsylvania 
Magazine," IV, 28-31; The Critic, August 27, 1897. DuBois' "Slave 
Trade," p. 20, 203. For copy of protest, see published fac-simile and 
Appendix of Thomas. For further proceedings of Quakers, see Thomas 
and DuBois, passim. 



12 Negro in Philadelphia, 1 6 38- 1 8 20. [Chap. III. 

Council against the " tumultuous gatherings of the negroes 
of the towne of Philadelphia, on the first dayes of the 
weeke." * 

In 1696 the Friends began a cautious dealing with the 
subject, which in the course of a century led to the abolition 
of slavery. This growth of moral sentiment was slow but 
unwaveringly progressive, and far in advance of contem- 
porary thought in civilized lands. At first the Friends 
sought merely to regulate slavery in a general way and 
prevent its undue growth. They therefore suggested in 
the Yearly Meeting of 1696, and for some time thereafter, 
that since traders " have flocked in amongst us and .... 
increased and multiplied negroes amongst us," members 
ought not to encourage the further importation of slaves, 
as there were enough for all purposes. In 171 1 a more 
active discouragement of the slave trade was suggested, 
and in 17 16 the Yearly Meeting intimated that even the 
buying of imported slaves might not be the best policy, 
although the meeting hastened to call this " caution, not 
censure." 

By 1719 the Meeting was certain that their members 
ought not to engage in the slave trade, and in 1730 they 
declared the buying of slaves imported by others to be 
" disagreeable." At this milestone they lingered thirty 
years for breath and courage, for the Meeting had evidently 
distanced many of its more conservative members. In 
1743 the question of importing slaves, or buying imported 
slaves, was made a disciplinary query, and in 1754, 
spurred by the crusade of Say, Woolman and Benezet, 
offending members were disciplined. In the important 
gathering of 1758 the same golden rule was laid down as 
that with which the Germans, seventy years previous, had 
taunted them, and the institution of slavery was categor- 
ically condemned. 5 Here they rested until 1775, when, 



* " Colonial Records," I, 380-81. 

5 Thomas, 276; Whittier Intro, to Woolman, 16. 



Sect. 7.] Transplanting of the Negro, i6j8—/y6o. 13 

after a struggle of eighty-seven years, they decreed the 
exclusion of slaveholders from fellowship in the Society. 

While in the councils of the State Church the freedom 
of Negroes was thus evolving, the legal status of Negroes 
of Pennsylvania was being laid. Four bills were intro- 
duced in 1700: one regulating slave marriages was lost; 
the other three were passed, but the Act for the Trial of 
Negroes — a harsh measure providing death, castration and 
whipping for punishments, and forbidding the meeting- 
together of more than four Negroes — was afterward disal- 
lowed by the Queen in Council. The remaining acts 
became laws, and provided for a small duty on imported 
slaves and the regulation of trade with slaves and ser- 
vants. 6 

In 1706 another act for the trial of Negroes was passed 
and allowed. It differed but slightly from the Act of 1700 ; 
it provided that Negroes should be tried for crimes by two 
justices of the peace and a jury of six freeholders ; rob- 
bery and rape were punished by branding and exportation, 
homicide by death, and stealing by whipping ; 7 the meeting 
of Negroes without permission was prohibited. Between 
this time and 1760 statutes were passed regulating the sale 
of liquor to slaves and the use of firearms by them ; and 
also the general regulative Act of 1726, "for the Better 
Regulation of Negroes in this Province." This act was 
especially for the punishment of crime, the suppression of 
pauperism, the prevention of intermarriage, and the like — 
that is, for regulating the social and economic status of 
Negroes, free and enslaved. 8 

Meantime the number of Negroes in the colony con- 
tinued to increase; by 1720 there were between 2500 and 
5000 Negroes in Pennsylvania ; they rapidly increased 
until there were a large number by 1750 — some say 11,000 



6 See Appendix B. 

7 « ' Statutes-at-Large, " Ch. 143, 881. See Appendix B. 

8 " Statutes-at-Large," III, pp. 250, 254; IV, 59 ff. See Appendix B. 



14 Negro in Philadelphia, /6j8-i820. [Chap. III. 

or more — when they decreased by war and sale, so that the 
census of 1790 found 10,274 in the State. 9 

The slave duties form a pretty good indication of the 
increase of Negro population. 10 The duty in 1700 was 
from 6s. to 20s. This was increased, and in 17 12, owing 
to the large importations and the turbulent actions of 
Negroes in neighboring States, a prohibitive duty of ^20 
was laid. 11 England, however, who was on the eve of 
signing the Assiento with Spain, soon disallowed this act 
and the duty was reduced to ^5. The influx of Negroes 
after the English had signed the huge slave contract 
with Spain was so large that the Act of 1726 laid a restrict- 
ive duty of ^10. For reasons not apparent, but possibly 
connected with fluctuations in the value of the currency, 
this duty was reduced to £2 in 1729, and seems to have 
remained at that figure until 1761. 

The ^10 duty was restored in 1761, and probably helped 
much to prevent importation, especially when we remem- 
ber the work of the Quakers at this period. In 1773 a 
prohibitive duty of ^20 was laid, and the Act of 1780 
finally prohibited importation. After 1760 it is probable 
that the efforts of the Quakers to get rid of their slaves 
made the export slave trade much larger than the 
importation. 

Very early in the history of the colony the presence of 
unpaid slaves for life greatly disturbed the economic con- 
dition of free laborers. While most of the white laborers 
were indentured servants the competition was not so much 
felt ; when they became free laborers, however, and were 
joined by other laborers, the cry against slave competition 
was soon raised. The particular grievance was the hiring 
out of slave mechanics by masters ; in 1708 the free 
white mechanics protested to the Legislature against this 



9 DuBois' "Slave Trade," p. 23, note. U. S. Census. 

10 See Appendix B. Cf. DuBois' " Slave Trade," passim. 



11 DuBois' "Slave Trade," p. 206. 



Sect. 8.] Emancipation, 1760-1780. 15 

custom, 12 and this was one of the causes of the Act of 1712 
in all probability. When by 1722 the number of slaves had 
further increased, the whites again protested against the 
" employment of blacks," apparently including both free 
and slave. The Legislature endorsed this protest and 
declared that the custom of employing black laborers and 
mechanics was "dangerous and injurious to the repub- 
lic." 13 Consequently the Act of 1726 declared the hiring 
of their time by Negro slaves to be illegal, and sought to 
restrict emancipation on the ground that " free negroes 
are an idle and slothful people," and easily become public 
burdens. 14 

As to the condition of the Negroes themselves we catch 
only glimpses here and there. Considering the times, the 
system of slavery was not harsh and the slaves received 
fair attention. There appears, however, to have been 
much trouble with them on account of stealing, some 
drunkenness and general disorder. The preamble of the 
Act of 1726 declares that "it too often happens that 
Negroes commit felonies and other heinous crimes," and 
that much pauperism arises from emancipation. This act 
facilitated punishment of such crimes by providing indem- 
nification for a master if his slave suffered capital punish- 
ment. They' were declared to be often "tumultuous" in 
1693, to be found " cursing, gaming, swearing, and com- 
mitting many other disorders" in 1732 ; in 1738 and 1741 
they were also called " disorderly " in city ordinances. 15 

In general, we see among the slaves at this time the low 
condition of morals which we should expect in a barbar- 
ous people forced to labor in a strange land. 

8. Emancipation, 1760-1780.- — The years 1 750-1 760 
mark the culmination of the slave system in Pennsylvania 



12 Scharf-Westcott's "History of Philadelphia," I, 200. 
13 Watson's "Annals," (Ed. 1850) I, 98. 
u See Appendix B. 
is Cf. Chapter XIII. 



1 6 Negro in Philadelphia, 1638-1820. [Chap. III. 

and the beginning of its decline. By that time most 
shrewd observers saw that the institution was an economic 
failure, and were consequently more disposed than formerly 
to listen to the earnest representations of the great anti- 
slavery agitators of that period. There were, to be sure, 
strong vested interests still to be fought. When the £10 
duty act of 1761 was pending, the slave merchants of the 
city, including many respectable names, vigorously pro- 
tested ; " ever desirous to extend the Trade of this Prov- 
ince," they declared that they had " seen for some time 
past the many inconveniencys the Inhabitants have suffered 
for want of Labourers and Artificers," and had conse- 
quently " for some time encouraged the importation of 
Negroes." They prayed at the very least for delay in 
passing this restrictive measure. After debate and alterca- 
tion with the governor the measure finally passed, indi- 
cating renewed strength and determination on the part of 
the abolition party. 16 

Meantime voluntary emancipation increased. Sandiford 
emancipated his slaves in 1733, and there were by 1790 in 
Philadelphia about one thousand black freedmen. A school 
for these and others was started in 1770 at the instance of 
Benezet, and had at first twenty-two children in attend- 
ance. 17 The war brought a broader and kindlier feeling 
toward the Negroes ; before its end the Quakers had 
ordered manumission, 18 and several attempts were made to 
prohibit slavery by statute. Finally, in 1780, the Act for 
the Gradual Abolition of Slavery was passed. 19 This act, 
beginning with a strong condemnation of slavery, pro- 
vided that no child thereafter born in Pennsylvania should 
be a slave. The children of slaves born after 1780 were to 
be bond-servants until twenty-eight years of age — that is,. 



16 "Colonial Records," VIII, 576; DuBois' "Slave Trade," p. 23. 

17 Cf. Pamphlet: "Sketch of the Schools for Blacks," also Chapter VIII. 

18 Cf. Thomas' "Attitude of Friends," etc., p. 272. 

» 9 Dallas' "Laws," I, 838, Ch. 881; DuBois' "Slave Trade," p. 225. 



Sect. 9.] The Rise of the Freedman, 1780-1820. 17 

beginning with the year 1808 there was to be a series of 
emancipations. Side by side with this growth of emanci- 
pation sentiment went an increase in the custom of hiring 
out Negro slaves and servants, which increased the old 
competition with the whites. The slaves were owned in 
small lots, especially in Philadelphia, one • or two to a 
family, and were used either as house servants or artisans. 
As a result they were encouraged to learn trades and seem 
to have had the larger share of the ordinary trades of the 
city in their hands. Many of the slaves in the better 
families became well-known characters — as Alice, who for 
forty years took the tolls at Dunk's Ferry ; Virgil Warder, 
who once belonged to Thomas Penn, and Robert Venable, 
a man of some intelligence. 20 

g. The Rise of the Freedman, 1780-1820. — A careful 
study of the process and effect of emancipation in the 
different States of the Union would throw much light on 
our national experiment and its ensuing problems. Espe- 
cially is this true of the experiment in Pennsylvania ; to 
be sure, emancipation here was gradual and the number 
emancipated small in comparison with the population, and 
yet the main facts are similar : the freeing of ignorant 
slaves and giving them a chance, almost unaided from 
without, to make a way in the world. The first result was 
widespread poverty and idleness. This was followed, as 
the number of freedmen increased, by a rush to the city. 
Between 1790 and 1800 the Negro population of Philadel- 
phia County increased from 2489 to 6880, or 176 per cent, 
against an increase of 43 per cent among the whites. The 
first result of this contact with city life was to stimulate 
the talented and aspiring freedmen ; and this was the 
easier because the freedman had in Philadelphia at that 
time a secure economic foothold ; he performed all kinds 
of domestic service, all common labor and much of the 
skilled labor. The group being thus secure in its daily 



20 Cf. Watson's "Annals" (Ed. 1850), I, pp. 557, 101-103, 601, 602, 515. 

2 



1 8 Negro in Philadelphia, 16J8-1820. [Chap. III. 

bread needed only leadership to make, some advance in 
general culture and social effectiveness. Some sporadic 
cases of talent occur, as Derham, the Negro physician, 
whom Dr. Benjamin Rush, in 1788, found "very learned." 21 
Especially, however, to be noted are Richard Allen, 22 a 
former slave of the Chew family, and Absalom Jones, 23 a 
Delaware Negro. These two were real leaders and actually 
succeeded to a remarkable degree in organizing the freed- 
men for group action. Both had bought their own freedom 
and that of their families by hiring their time — Allen 
being a blacksmith by trade, and Jones also having a trade. 
When, in 1792, the terrible epidemic drove Philadelphians 
away so quickly that many did not remain to bury the 
dead, Jones and Allen quietly took the work in hand, 
spending some of their own funds and doing so well that 
they were publicly commended by Mayor Clarkson in 
1794. 24 

The great work of these men, however, lay among their 
own race and arose from religious difficulties. As in other 
colonies the process by which the Negro slaves learned the 
English tongue and were converted to Christianity is not 
clear. The subject of the moral instruction of slaves had 
early troubled Penn and he had urged Friends to provide 
meetings for them. 25 The newly organized Methodists soon 
attracted a number of the more intelligent, though the 



21 The American Museum, 1789, pp. 61-62. 

22 For life of Allen, see his " Autobiography," and Payne's " History 
A. M. E. Church." 

23 For life of Jones, see Douglass' ''Episcopal Church of St. Thomas." 

24 The testimonial was dated January 23, 1794, and was as follows: 
" Having, during the prevalence of the late malignant disorder, had 
almost daily opportunities of seeing the conduct of Absalom Jones and 
Richard Allen, and the people employed by them to bury the dead, I, 
with cheerfulness give this testimony of my approbation of their pro- 
ceedings as far as the same came under my notice. Their diligence, 
attention and decency of deportment, afforded me at the time much 
satisfaction. Wiuiam Clarkson, Mayor." 

From Douglass' "St. Thomas' Church." 

25 See Thomas, p. 266. 



Sect. 9.] The Rise of the Freedman, 1780-1820. 19 

masses seem at the end of the last century not to have been 
church-goers or Christians to any considerable extent. The 
small number that went to church were wont to worship at 
St. George's, Fourth and Vine ; for years both free Negroes 
and slaves worshiped here and were made welcome. 
Soon, however, the church began to be alarmed at the 
increase in its black communicants which the immigration 
from the country was bringing, and attempted to force 
them into the gallery. The crisis came one Sunday 
morning during prayer when Jones and Allen, with a 
crowd of followers, refused to worship except in their 
accustomed places, and finally left the church in a body. 26 
This band immediately met together and on April 12, 
1787, formed a curious sort of ethical and beneficial brother- 
hood called the Free African Society. How great a step 
this was, we of to-day scarcely realize ; we must remind 
ourselves that it was the first wavering step of a people 
toward organized social life. This society was more than 
a mere club : Jones and Allen were its leaders and recog- 
nized chief officers ; a certain parental discipline was 
exercised over its members and mutual financial aid given. 
The preamble of the articles of association says : " Where- 
as, Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, two men of the 
African Race, who for their religious life and conversation, 
have obtained a good report among men, these persons 
from a love to the people of their own complexion whom 
they beheld with sorrow, because of their irreligious and 
uncivilized state, often communed together upon this pain- 
ful and important subject in order to form some kind of 
religious body ; but there being too few to be found under 
the like concern, and those who were, differed in their 
religious sentiments ; with these circumstances they labored 
for some time, till it was proposed after a serious commu- 
nication of sentiments that a society should be formed 
without regard to religious tenets, provided the persons 



26 See Allen's "Autobiography," and Douglass' "St. Thomas." 



20 Negro in Philadelphia, 16J8-1820. [Chap. III. 

lived an orderly and sober life, in order to support one 
another in sickness, and for the benefit of their widows 
and fatherless children." 27 

The society met first at private houses, then at the 
Friends' Negro school house. For a time they leaned 
toward Quakerism ; each month three monitors were 
appointed to have oversight over the members ; loose 
marriage customs were attacked by condemning cohabita- 
tion, expelling offenders and providing a simple Quaker- 
like man i age ceremony. A fifteen minute pause for silent 
prayer opened the meetings. As the representative body 
of the free Negroes of the city, this society opened com- 
munication with free Negroes in Boston, Newport and 
other places. The Negro Union of Newport, R. I., pro- 
posed in 1788 a general exodus to Africa, but the Free 
African Society soberly replied : " With regard to the 
emigration to Africa you mention we have at present but 
little to communicate on that head, apprehending every 
pious man is a good citizen of the whole world." The 
society co-operated with the Abolition Society in studying 
the condition of the free blacks in 1790. At all times they 
seem to have taken good care of their sick and dead and 
helped the widows and orphans to some extent. Their 
methods of relief were simple : they agreed " for the 
benefit of each other to advance one-shilling in silver 
Pennsylvania currency a month ; and after one year's sub- 
scription, from the dole hereof then to hand forth to the 
needy of the Society if any should require, the sum of 
three shillings and nine pence per week of the said money ; 
provided the necessity is not brought on them by their 
own imprudence." In 1790 the society had £^2 <)s. id. 
on deposit in the bank of North America, and had applied 
for a grant of the Potter's Field to be set aside as a burial 
ground for them, in a petition signed by Dr. Rush, Tench 
Coxe and others. 



"Douglass' "St. Thomas." 



Sect. 9.] The Rise of the Freedman ) 1780-1820. 21 

It was, however, becoming clearer and clearer to the 
leaders that only a strong religious bond could keep this 
untrained group together. They would probably have 
become a sort of institutional church at first if the question 
of religious denomination had been settled among them ; 
but it had not been, and for about six years the question 
was still pending. The tentative experiment in Quakerism 
had failed, being ill suited to the low condition of the rank 
and file of the society. Both Jones and Allen believed that 
Methodism was best suited to the needs of the Negro, but 
the majority of the society, still nursing the memory of St. 
George's, inclined toward the Episcopal church. Here came 
the parting of the ways : Jones was a slow introspective 
man, with a thirst for knowledge, with high aspirations for 
his people ; Allen was a shrewd, quick, popular leader, 
positive and dogged and yet far-seeing in his knowledge of 
Negro character. Jones therefore acquiesced in the judg- 
ment of the majority, served and led them conscientiously 
and worthily, and eventually became the first Negro rector 
in the Episcopal church of America. About 1790 Allen 
and a few followers withdrew from the Free African 
Society, formed an independent Methodist church which 
first worshiped in his blacksmith's shop on Sixth near 
Lombard. Eventually this leader became the founder and 
first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of 
America — an organization which now has 500,000 mem- 
bers, and is by long odds the vastest and most remarkable 
product of American Negro civilization. 28 

Jones and the Free African Society took immediate steps 
to secure a church ; a lot was bought at the corner of Fifth 
and Adelphi streets in February, 1792, and by strenuous 
effort a church was erected and dedicated on the seventeenth 



28 There is on the part of the A. M. E. Church a disposition to ignore 
Allen's withdrawal from the Free African Society, and to date the A. M. 
B. Church from the founding of that society, making it older than St. 
Thomas. This, however, is contrary to Allen's own statement in his 
" Autobiography." The point, however, is of little real consequence. 



22 Negro in Philadelphia, 1638-1820. [Chap. IIL 

of July, 1794. This was the first Negro church in America, 
and known as the First African Church of St. Thomas ; in 
the vestibule of the church was written : u The people that 
walked in darkness have seen a great light." Bethel 
Church was erected by Allen and his followers in 1796, the 
same year that a similar movement in New York estab- 
lished the Zion Methodist Church. In 1794, too, the 
Methodists of St. George's, viewing with some chagrin the 
widespread withdrawal of Negroes from their body, estab- 
lished a mission at Camperdown, in the northeastern part 
of the city, which eventually became the present Zoar 
Church. 

The general outlook for the Negroes at this period was 
encouraging, notwithstanding the low condition of the 
masses of the race. In 1788 Pennsylvania amended the 
Act of 1780, so as to prevent the internal and foreign slave 
trade, and correct kidnapping and other abuses that had 
arisen. 29 The convention which adopted the Constitution of 
1790 had, in spite of opposition in the convention, refused 
to insert the word " white " in the qualifications for voters, 
and thus gave the right of suffrage to free Negro property 
holders ; a right which they held, and, in most counties of 
the State, exercised until 1837. 30 The general conference 
of Abolition Societies, held in Philadelphia in 1794, started 
an agitation which, when reinforced by the news of the 
Haytian revolt, resulted in the national statute of 1794, for- 
bidding the export slave trade. 31 In 1799 and 1800 Absalom 
Jones led the Negroes to address a petition to the Legisla- 
ture, praying for immediate abolition of slavery, and to 
Congress against the fugitive slave law, and asking pros- 
pective emancipation for all Negroes. This latter petition 
was presented by Congressman Wain, and created an uproar 



28 Carey & Bioren, Ch. 394. DuBois' "Slave Trade," p. 231. 

30 The constitution, as reported, had the word "white," but this was 



struck out at the instance of Gallatin. Cf. Ch. XVII. 
31 Cf. DuBois' "Slave Trade," Chapter VII. 



Sect. 9.] The Rise of the Freedman, 1J80-1820. 23 

in the House of Representatives ; it was charged that 
the petition was instigated by the Haytian revolutionists 
and finally the Negroes were censured for certain parts of 
the petition. 32 

The condition of the Negroes of the city in the last 
decade of the eighteenth and the first two decades of the 
nineteenth century, although without doubt bad, slowly 
improved ; an insurance society, in 1796, took the benefi- 
cial features of the old Free African Society. Some small 
essays were made in business, mostly in small street stands, 
near the wharves ; and many were in the trades of all kinds. 
Between 1800 and 1810 the city Negro population con- 
tinued to increase, so that at the latter date there were 
100,688 whites and 10,522 blacks in the city, the Negroes 
thus forming the largest per cent of the population of the 
city that they have ever attained. The free Negroes also 
began to increase from the effect of the abolition law. 
The school established in 1770 continued, and was endowed 
by bequests from whites and Negroes. It had 414 pupils 
by 181 3. In this same year there were six Negro churches 
and eleven benevolent societies. When the war broke out 
many Philadelphia Negroes were engaged on land and sea. 
Among these was James Forten — a fine character, expres- 
sive of the best Negro development of the time. Born in 
1766, and educated by Benezet, he " was a gentleman by 
nature, easy in manner and able in intercourse ; popular as 
a man of trade or gentleman of the pave, and well received 
by the gentry of lighter shade." 33 For years he conducted 
a sail-making trade, employing both whites and Negroes. 
In 1 81 4 he, Jones, Allen and others were asked, in the 
midst of the alarm felt at the approach of the British, to 
raise colored troops. A meeting was called and 2500 
volunteers secured, or three-fourths of the adult male 



32 "Annals of Congress," 6 Cong., ISess., pp. 229-45. DuBois' "Slave 
Trade," pp. 81-83. 

33 Quoted by W. C. Bolivar in Philadelphia Tribune. 



24 Negro in Philadelphia, i6j8-i820. [Chap. III. 

population ; they marched to Gray's Ferry and threw up 
fortifications. A battalion for service in the field was 
formed, but the war closed before they reached the front. 34 

The Negroes at this time held about $250,000 of city 
property, and on the whole showed great progress since 
1780. At the same time there were many evidences of the 
effects of slavery. The first set of men emancipated by 
law were freed in 1808, and probably many entitled to free- 
dom were held longer than the law allowed or sold out of 
the State. As late as 1794 some Quakers still held slaves, 
and the papers of the day commonly contain such adver- 
tisements, as : 

" To be Sold for want of Employ, For a term of years, a 
smart active Negro boy, fifteen years of age. Enquire at 
Robert McGee's board yard, Vine street wharf." 35 



3 *Delany's "Colored People," p. 74. 

35 Dunlap's American Daily Advertiser, July 4, 1791. William White 
had a large commission-house on the wharves about this time. Con- 
siderable praise is given the Insurance Society of 1796 for its good man- 
agement. Cf. "History ofthe Insurance Companies of North America." In 
1817 the first convention of Free Negroes was held here, through the 
efforts of Jones and Forten. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE NEGRO IN PHILADELPHIA, 1820-1896. 

10. Fugitives and Foreigners, 1820-1840. — Five social 
developments made the decades from 1820 to 1840 critical 
for the nation and for the Philadelphia Negroes ; first, the 
impulse of the industrial revolution of the nineteenth cen- 
tury ; second, the reaction and recovery succeeding the War 
of 181 2 ; third, the rapid increase of foreign immigration ; 
fourth, the increase of free Negroes and fugitive slaves, 
especially in Philadelphia ; fifth, the rise of the Abolitionists 
and the slavery controversy. 

Philadelphia was the natural gateway between the North 
and the South, and for a long time there passed through it 
a stream of free Negroes and fugitive slaves toward the 
North, and of recaptured Negroes and kidnapped colored 
persons toward the South. By 1820 the northward stream 
increased, occasioning bitterness on the part of the South, 
and leading to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1820, and the 
counter acts of Pennsylvania in 1826 and 1827. 1 During 
this time new installments of Pennsylvania freedmen, and 
especially their children, began to flock to Philadelphia. 
At the same time the stream of foreign immigration to this 
country began to swell, and by 1830 aggregated half a 
million souls annually. The result of these movements 
proved disastrous to the Philadelphia Negro ; the better 
classes of them — the Joneses, Aliens and Fortens — could not 
escape into the mass of white population and leave the new 



1 These laws were especially directed against kidnapping, and were 
designed to protect free Negroes. See Appendix B. The law of 1826 
was declared unconstitutional in 1842 by the U. S. Supreme Court. See 
16 Peters, 500 ff. 

(25) 



26 Negro in Philadelphia, 1820-1896. [Chap. IV. 

Negroes to fight out their battles with the foreigners. No 
distinction was drawn between Negroes, least of all by the 
new Southern families who now made Philadelphia their 
home and were not unnaturally stirred to unreasoning 
prejudice by the slavery agitation. 

To this was added a fierce economic struggle, a renewal 
of the fight of the eighteenth century against Negro work- 
men. The new industries attracted the Irish, Germans 
and other immigrants ; Americans, too, were flocking to 
the city, and soon to natural race antipathies was added a 
determined effort to displace Negro labor — an effort which 
had the aroused prejudice of many of the better classes, 
and the poor quality of the new black immigrants to give 
it aid and comfort. To all this was soon added a problem 
of crime and poverty. Numerous complaints of petty 
thefts, house-breaking, and assaults on peaceable citizens 
were traced to certain classes of Negroes. In vain did the 
better class, led by men like Forten, protest by public 
meetings their condemnation of such crime, 2 the tide had 
set against the Negro strongly, and the whole period from 
1820 to 1840 became a time of retrogression for the mass 
of the race, and of discountenance and repression from the 
whites. 

By 1830 the black population of the city and districts 
had increased to 15,624, an increase of 27 per cent for the 
decade 1820 to 1830, and of 48 per cent since 1810. Never- 
theless, the growth of the city had far outstripped this ; by 
1830 the county had nearly 175,000 whites, among whom 
was a rapidly increasing contingent of 5000 foreigners. So 
intense was the race antipathy among the lower classes, 
and so much countenance did it receive from the middle 
and upper class, that there began, in 1829, a series of 
riots directed chiefly against Negroes, which recurred fre- 
quently until about 1840, and did not wholly cease until 



2 A meeting of Negroes held in 1822, at the A. M. E. Church, 
denounced crime and Negro criminals. 



Sect. 10.] Fugitives and Foreigners, 1820-1840. 27 

after the war. These riots were occasioned by various 
incidents, but the underlying cause was the same : the simul- 
taneous influx of freedmen, fugitives and foreigners into 
a large city, and the resulting prejudice, lawlessness, crime 
and poverty. The agitation of the Abolitionists was the 
match that lighted this fuel. In June and July, 1829, Mrs. 
Fanny Wright Darusmont, a Scotch woman, gave a num- 
ber of addresses in Philadelphia, in which she boldly 
advocated the emancipation of the Negroes and something 
very like social equality of the races. This created great 
excitement throughout the city, and late in the fall the first 
riot against the Negroes broke out, occasioned by some 
personal quarrel. 3 

The Legislature had proposed to stop the further influx 
of Southern Negroes by making free Negroes carry passes 
and excluding all others ; the arrival of fugitives from the 
Southampton massacre was the occasion of this attempt, 
and it was with difficulty that the friends of the Negro pre- 
vented its passage. 4 Quakers hastened to advise against 
the sending of fugitives to the State, " as the effects of such 
a measure would probably be disastrous to the peace and 
comfort of the whole colored population of Pennsylvania." 
Edward Bettle declared in 1832 : " The public mind here 
is more aroused even among respectable persons than it 
has been for several years," and he feared that the laws of 
1826 and 1827 would be repealed, "thus leaving kidnap- 
pers free scope for their nefarious labors." 5 

In 1833 a demonstration took place against the Aboli- 
tionists, and in 1834 serious riots occurred. One night in 
August a crowd of several hundred boys and men, armed 



3 Scharf- Westcott's "History of Philadelphia," I, 824. There was at 
this time much lawlessness in the city which had no connection with the 
presence of Negroes, and which led to rioting and disorder in general. 
Cf. Price's "History of Consolidation." 

4 Southampton was the scene of the celebrated Nat Turner insurrection 
of Negroes. 

6 Letter to Nathan Mendelhall, of North Carolina. 



28 Negro in Philadelphia, 1820— 1896. [Chap. IV. 

with clubs, inarched down Seventh street to the Pennsyl- 
vania Hospital. They were joined by others, and all pro- 
ceeded to some places of amusement where many Negroes 
were congregated, on South street, near Eighth. Here the 
rioting began, and four or five hundred people engaged in a 
free street fight. Buildings were torn down and inmates 
assaulted on Bedford and St. Mary streets and neighbor- 
ing alleys, until at last the policemen and constables suc- 
ceeded in quieting the tumult. The respite, however, was 
but temporary. The very next night the mob assembled 
again at Seventh and Bainbridge ; they first wrecked a 
Negro church and a neighboring house, then attacked 
some twenty Negro dwellings ; " great excesses are repre- 
sented as having been committed by the mob, and one or 
two scenes of a most revolting character are said to have 
taken place." That the riots occurred by prearranged 
plan was shown by the signals — lights in windows — by 
which the houses of the whites were distinguished and 
those of the Negroes attacked and their inmates assaulted 
and beaten. Several persons were severely injured in this 
night's work and one Negro killed, before the mayor and 
authorities dispersed the rioters. 

The next night the mob again assembled in another 
part of the city and tore down another Negro church. By 
this time the Negroes began to gather for self-defence, and 
about one hundred of them barricaded themselves in a 
building on Seventh street, below Lombard, where a howl- 
ing mob of whites soon collected. The mayor induced 
the Negroes to withdraw, and the riot ended. In this three 
days' uprising thirty-one houses and two churches were 
destroyed and Stephen James " an honest, industrious 
colored man " killed. 6 

The town meeting of September 15 condemned the riots 
and voted to reimburse the sufferers, but also took occasion 
to condemn the impeding of justice by Negroes when any 

6 Hazard's "Register," XIV, pp. 126-28, 200-203. 



Sect. 10.] Fugitives and Foreigners, 1820-1840. 29 

of their number was arrested, and also the noise made in 
Negro churches. The fires smouldered for about a year, 
but burst forth again on the occasion of the murder of his 
master by a Cuban slave, Juan. The lower classes were 
aroused and a mob quickly assembled at the corners of 
Sixth and Seventh and Lombard streets, and began the 
work of destruction and assault, until finally it ended by 
setting fire to a row of houses on Eighth street, and fight- 
ing off the firemen. The following night the mob met again 
and attacked a house on St. Mary street, where an armed 
body of Negroes had .barricaded themselves. The mayor 
and recorder finally arrived here and after severely lectur- 
ing the Negroes (!) induced them to depart. The whole 
of the afternoon of that day black women and children 
fled from the city. 7 

Three years now passed without serious disturbance, 
although the lawless elements which had gained such a 
foothold were still troublesome. In 1838 two murders 
were committed by Negroes — one of whom was acknowl- 
edged to be a lunatic. At the burial of this one's victim, 
rioting again began, the mob assembling on Passyunk 
avenue and Fifth street and marching up Fifth. The 
same scenes were re-enacted but finally the mob was 
broken up. 8 Later the same year, on the dedication of 
Pennsylvania Hall, which was designed to be a centre of 
anti-slavery agitation, the mob, encouraged by the refusal 
of the mayor to furnish adequate police protection, burned 
the hall to the ground and the next night burned the 
Shelter for Colored Orphans at Thirteenth and Callowhill 
streets, and damaged Bethel Church, on Sixth street. 9 

The last riot of this series took place in 1842 when a 
mob devastated the district between Fifth and Eighth 



Ubid., xvi, pp. 35-38. 

8 Scharf-Westcott's "Philadelphia," I, pp. 654-55. 

9 Price, "History of Consolidation," etc., Ch. VII. The county 
eventually paid $22,658.27, with interest and costs, for the destruction of 
the hall. 



30 Negro in Philadelphia, 1820-1896. [Chap. IV. 

streets, near Lombard street, assaulted and beat Negroes 
and looted their homes, burned down a Negro hall and a 
church ; the following day the rioting extended to the sec- 
tion between South and Fitzwater streets and was finally 
quelled by calling out the militia with artillery. 10 

While these riots were taking place a successful effort 
was made to deprive free Negroes of the right of suffrage 
which they had enjoyed nearly fifty years. In 1836 a case 
came before the court of a Negro who had been denied 
the right of voting. The court decided in a peculiar de- 
cision that free Negroes were not " freemen " in the lan- 
guage of the constitution and, therefore that Negroes could 
not vote. 11 The reform convention settled the matter by 
inserting the word "white " in the qualifications for 
election in the Constitution of 1837. 12 The Negroes pro- 
tested earnestly by meetings and appeals. " We appeal to 
you " said they, " from the decision of the ' Reform Con- 
vention,' which has stripped us of a right peaceably 
enjoyed during forty-seven years under the constitution of 
this commonwealth. We honor Pennsylvania and her 
noble institutions too much to part with our birthright, as 
her free citizens, without a struggle. To all her citizens 
the right of suffrage is valuable in proportion as she is free; 
but surely there are none who can so ill afford to spare it 
as ourselves." Nevertheless the right was lost, for the 
appeal fell on deaf ears. 13 

A curious comment on human nature is this change of 
public opinion in Philadelphia between 1790 and 1837. 
No one thing explains it — it arose from a combination of 
circumstances. If, as in 1790, the new freedmen had been 
given peace and quiet and abundant work to develop 
sensible and aspiring leaders, the end would have been 



10 Scharf-Westcott, I, pp. 660-61. 

11 Case of Fogg vs. Hobbs, 6 Watts, 553-560. See Chapter XII. 

12 See Chapter XII and Appendix B. 

13 Appeal of 40,000 citizens, etc., Philadelphia, 1838. Written chiefly 
by the late Robert Purvis, son-in-law of James Forten. 



Sect. 10.] Fugitives and Foreigners 1820— 184.0. 31 

different; but a mass of poverty-stricken, ignorant fugitives 
and ill-trained freedmen had rushed to the city, swarmed in 
the vile slums which the rapidly growing city furnished, 
and met in social and economic competition equally ignor- 
ant but more vigorous foreigners. These foreigners outbid 
them at work, beat them on the streets, and were enabled 
to do this by the prejudice which Negro crime and the 
anti-slavery sentiment had aroused in the city. 

Notwithstanding this the better class of Negroes never 
gave up. Their school increased in attendance; their 
churches and benevolent societies increased^; they held 
public meetings of protest and sympathy. And twice, in 
1 83 1 and 1833, there assembled in the city a general con- 
vention of the free Negroes of the country, representing 
five to eight States, which, among other things, sought to 
interest philanthropists of the city in the establishment of 
a Negro industrial school. u When the Legislature showed 
a disposition in 1832 to curtail the liberties of Negroes, 
the Negroes held a mass meeting and memorialized the 
lawmaking body and endeavored to show that all Negroes 
were not criminals and paupers ; they declared that while 
the Negroes formed eight per cent of the population they 
furnished but four per cent of the paupers ; that by actually 
produced tax receipts they could show that Negroes held 
at least $350,000 of taxable property in the city. More- 
over, they said, " Notwithstanding the difficulty of getting 
places for our sons to learn mechanical trades, owing to the 
prejudices with which we have to contend, there are 
between four and five hundred people of color who follow 
mechanical employments." 15 In 1837 the census of the 
Abolition society claimed for the Negroes 1724 children in 
school, $309,626 of unencumbered property, 16 churches 
and 100 benevolent societies. 



14 See Minutes of Conventions; the school was to be situated in New 
Haven, but the New Haven authorities, by town meeting, protested so 
vehemently that the project had to be given up. Cf. also Hazard, V, 143. 

15 Hazard's "Register," IX, 361-62. 



32 Negro in Philadelphia, 1820-1896. [Chap. IV. 

11. The Guild of the Caterers, 1840-1870. — The outlook 
for the Negro in Philadelphia about 1840 was not encour- 
aging. The last of the first series of riots took place in 
1842, and has been mentioned. The authorities were 
wakened to their duty by this last outbreak of barbarism, 
and for several years the spirit of lawlessness, which now 
extended far beyond the race question and seriously threat- 
ened the good name of the city, was kept within control. 
However, in 1849, a mob set upon a mulatto who had a 
white wife, at the corner of Sixth street and St. Mary's, 
and there ensued a pitched battle for a night and a day ; 
firemen fought with firemen ; the blacks, goaded to desper- 
ation, fought furiously ; houses were burned and firearms 
used, with the result that three white men and one Negro 
were killed and twenty-five wounded persons taken to the 
hospital. The militia was twice called before the disturb- 
ance was quelled. These riots and the tide of prejudice 
and economic proscription drove so many Negroes from 
the city that the black population actually showed a 
decrease in the decade 1840-50. Worse than this, the good 
name of the Negroes in the city had been lost through the 
increased crime and the undeniably frightful condition 
of the Negro slums. The foreign element gained all 
the new employments which the growing industries of 
the State opened, and competed for the trades and com- 
mon vocations. The outlook was certainly dark. 

It was at this time that there arose to prominence and 
power as remarkable a trade guild as ever ruled in a medi- 
aeval city. It took complete leadership of the bewildered 
group of Negroes, and led them steadily on to a degree of 
affluence, culture and respect such as has probably never 
been surpassed in the history of the Negro in America. 
This was the guild of the caterers, and its masters include 
names which have been household words in the city for fifty 
years : Bogle, Augustin, Prosser, Dorsey, Jones and Minton. 
To realize just the [character of this new economic 



Sect, ii.] The Guild of the Caterers, 1840- 18 jo. 33 

development we must not forget the economic history of 
the slaves. At first they were wholly house servants or 
field hands. As city life in the colony became more 
important, some of the slaves acquired trades, and thus 
there arose a class of Negro artisans. So long as the 
pecuniary interests of a slaveholding class stood back of 
these artisans the protests of white mechanics had little 
effect; indeed it is probable that between 1790 and 1820 a 
very large portion, and perhaps most, of the artisans of Phil- 
adelphia were Negroes. Thereafter, however, the sharp 
competition of the foreigners and the demand for new sorts 
of skilled labor of which the Negro was ignorant, and was 
not allowed to learn, pushed the black artisans more and 
more to the wall. In 1837 only about 350 men out of a 
city population of 10,500 Negroes, pursued trades, or about 
one in every twenty adults. 

The question, therefore, of obtaining a decent livelihood 
was a pressing one for the better class of Negroes. The 
masses of the race continued to depend upon domestic 
service, where they still had a practical monopoly, and 
upon common labor, where they had some competition 
from the Irish. To the more pushing and energetic 
Negroes only two courses were open : to enter into com- 
mercial life in some small way, or to develop certain lines 
of home service into a more independent and lucrative 
employment. In this latter way was the most striking 
advance made ; the whole catering business, arising from 
an evolution shrewdly, persistently and tastefully directed, 
transformed the Negro cook and waiter into the public 
caterer and restaurateur, and raised a crowd of underpaid 
menials to become a set of self-reliant, original business 
men, who amassed fortunes for themselves and won general 
respect for their people. 

The first prominent Negro caterer was Robert Bogle, 
who, early in the century, conducted an establishment on 
Eighth street, near Sansom. In his day he was one of the 
3 



34 Negro in Philadelphia, 1820-1896. [Chap. IV. 

best known characters of Philadelphia, and virtually cre- 
ated the business of catering in the city. 16 As the butler 
or waiter in a private family arranged the meals and 
attended the family on ordinary occasions, so the public 
waiter came to serve different families in the same capacity 
at larger and more elaborate functions; he was the butler 
of the smart set, and his taste of hand and eye and palate 
set the fashion of the day. This functionary filled a unique 
place in a time when social circles were very exclusive, 
and the millionaire and the French cook had not yet 
arrived. Bogle's place was eventually taken by Peter 
Augustin, a West Indian immigrant, who started a business 
in 1818 which is still carried on. It was the Augustin 
establishment that made Philadelphia catering famous all 
over the country. The best families of the city, and the 
most distinguished foreign guests, were served by this 
caterer. Other Negroes soon began to crowd into the field 
thus opened. The Prossers, father and son, were prominent 
among these, perfecting restaurant catering and making 
many famous dishes. Finally came the triumvirate Jones, 
Dorsey and Minton, who ruled the fashionable world from 
1 845-1 875. Of these Dorsey was the most unique char- 
acter ; with little education but great refinement of man- 
ner, he became a man of real weight in the community, 
and associated with many eminent men. " He had the 
sway of an imperial dictator. When a Democrat asked 
his menial service he refused, because ' he could not wait 
on a party of persons who were disloyal to the government, 
and Lincoln ' — pointing to the picture in his reception 
rooms — ' was the government.' " 17 Jones was Virginia 

16 Biddle's "Ode to Bogle," is a well-known squib; Bogle himself is 
credited with considerable wit. " You are of the people who walk in 
darkness," said a prominent clergyman to him once in a dimly lighted 
hall. " But," replied Bogle, bowing to the distinguished gentleman, " I 
have seen a great light." 

17 See in Philadelphia Times , October 17, 1896, the following notes by 
" Megargee :" Dorsey was one of the triumvirate of colored caterers — the 



Sect, ii.] The Guild of the Caterers, 184.0-1870. 35 

born, and a man of great care and faithfulness. He catered 
to families in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York. 18 
Minton, the younger of the three, long had a restaurant at 
Fourth and Chestnut, and became, as the others did, mod- 
erately wealthy. 19 

Such men wielded great personal influence, aided the 
iVbolition cause to no little degree, and made Philadelphia 
noted for its cultivated and well-to-do Negro citizens. 
Their conspicuous success opened opportunities for Negroes 
in other lines. It was at this time that Stephen Smith 
amassed a very large fortune as a lumber merchant, with 
which he afterward handsomely endowed a home for aged 



other two being Henry Jones and Henry Minton — who some years ago 
might have been said to rule the social world of Philadelphia through its 
stomach. Time was when lobster salad, chicken croquettes, deviled 
crabs and terrapin composed the edible display at every big Philadelphia 
gathering, and none of those dishes were thought to be perfectly pre- 
pared unless they came from the hands of one of the three men 
named. Without making anj T invidious comparisons between those who 
were such masters of the gastronomic art, it can fairly be said that out- 
side of his kitchen, Thomas J. Dorsey outranked the others. Although 
without schooling, he possessed a naturally refined instinct that led him 
to surround himself with both men and things of an elevating character. 
It was hi* proudest boast that at his table, in his Locust street residence, 
there had sat Charles Sumner, William Lloyd Garrison, John W. Forney, 
William D. Kelley and Fred Douglass. . . . Yet Thomas Dorsey had 
been a slave; had been held in bondage by a Maryland planter. Nor did 
he escape from his fetters until he had reached a man's estate. He fled 
to this city, but was apprehended and returned to his master. During 
his brief stay in Philadelphia, however, he made friends, and these raised 
a fund of sufficient proportion to purchase his freedom. As a caterer he 
quickly achieved both fame and fortune. His experience of the horrors 
of slavery had instilled him with an undying reverence for those cham- 
pions of his down-trodden race, the old-time Abolitionists. He took a 
prominent part in all efforts to elevate his people, and in that way he 
came in close contact with Sumner, Garrison, Forney and others. 

18 Henry Jones was in the catering business thirty years, and died 
September 24, 1875, leaving a considerable estate. 

19 Henry Minton came from Nansemond County, Virginia, at the age 
of nineteen, arriving in Philadelphia in 1830. He was first apprenticed 
to a shoemaker, then went into a hotel as waiter. Finally he opened 
dining rooms at Fourth and Chestnut. He died March 20, 1883. 



36 Negro in Philadelphia, 1820-1896. [Chap. IV. 

and infirm Negroes. Whipper, Vidal and Purnell were 
associated with Smith at different times. Still and Bowers 
were coal merchants and Adger was in the furniture 
business. There were also some artists of ability : Bowser, 
who painted a portrait of Iyincoln, and Douglass and Burr ; 
Johnson, the leader of a famous colored band and a com- 
poser. 20 

During this time of effort, advance and assimilation the 
Negro population increased but slowly, for the economic 
struggle was too earnest for young and indiscriminate mar- 
riages, and immigrants had been frightened away by the 
riots. In 1840 there were 19,833 Negroes in the county, 
and ten years later, as has been noted, there were only 
19,761. For the next decade there was a moderate increase 
to 22,185, when the war brought a slight decrease, leaving 
the Negro population 22,147 in 1870. Meantime the 
white population had increased by leaps and bounds : 





Population of Philadelphia County, i 


[840- 


-1870. 


Date. 


Whites. 


Negroes. 


1840 




238,204 
389,001 
543,344 
651,854 


I9, 8 33 
I9,76r 
22,185 
22,147 


1850 
i860 




1870 







In 1 8 10 the Negroes had formed nearly one- tenth of the 
total population of the city, but in 1870 they formed but 
little over one thirty-third, the lowest proportion ever 
reached in the history of Philadelphia. 

The general social condition showed some signs of im- 
provement from 1840 on. In 1847 there were 1940 Negro 
children in school ; the Negroes held, it was said, about 
$400,000 in real estate and had 19 churches and 106 
benevolent societies. The mass of the race were still 
domestic servants — about 4000 of the 11,000 in the city 

20 This band was in great demand at social functions, and its leader 
received a trumpet from Queen Victoria. 



Sect, ii.] The Guild of the Caterers, 1 8 40-1 8 jo. 37 

proper being thus employed, a figure which probably 
meant a considerable majority of the adults. The 
remainder were chiefly employed as laborers, artisans, 
coachmen, expressmen and barbers. 

The habitat of the Negro population changed somewhat 
in this period. About 1790 one-fourth of the Negroes 
lived between Vine and Market and east of Ninth ; one- 
half between Market and South, mostly in the alleys 
bounded by Lombard, Fifth, Eighth and South ; one- 
eighth lived below South, and one-eighth in the Northern 
Liberties. Many of these, of course, lived in white 
families. In 1837 a quarter of the Negroes were in white 
families, a little less than one-half were in the city limits 
centring at Sixth and Lombard or thereabouts ; a tenth 
lived in Moyamensing, a twentieth in the Northern Lib- 
erties, and the remaining part in Kensington and 
Spring Garden districts. The riots concentrated this 
population somewhat, and in 1847, °f the 20,000 Negroes 
in the county, only 1300 lived north of Vine and east of 
Sixth. The rest were in the city proper, in Moyamensing 
and in Southwark. Moyamensing was the worst slum 
district : between South and Fitzwater and Fifth and 
Eighth there were crowded 302 families in narrow, filthy 
alleys. Here was concentrated the worst sort of depravity, 
poverty, crime and disease. The present slums at Seventh 
and Lombard are bad and dangerous, but they are de- 
cent compared with those of a half century ago. The 
Negroes furnished one-third of all the commitments for 
crime in 1837, and one-half in 1847. 

Beginning with 1850 the improvement of the Negro 
was more rapid. The value of real estate held was esti- 
mated to have doubled between 1847 an ^ 1856. The 
proportion of men in the trades remained stationary ; 
there were 2321 children in school. Toward the time of 
the outbreak of war the feeling toward the Negro, in certain 
classes softened somewhat, and his staunch friends were 



38 Negro in Philadelphia, 18 20-1896. [Chap. IV. 

enabled to open many benevolent institutions ; in many 
ways a disposition to help them was manifested : the 
newspapers treated them with more respect, and they were 
not subject so frequently to personal insult on the street. 

They were still kept off the street cars in spite of ener- 
getic protest. Indeed, not until 1867 was a law passed 
prohibiting this discrimination. Judicial decisions upheld 
the railways for a long time, and newspapers and public 
opinion supported them. When by Judge Allison's decis- 
ion the attitude of the courts was changed, and damages 
granted an evicted Negro, the railway companies often 
side-tracked and left cars which colored passengers had 
entered. Separate cars were run for them on some lines, 
and in 1865 a public ballot on the cars was taken to decide 
the admission of Negroes. Naturally the conductors 
returned a large majority against any change. Finally, 
after public meetings, pamphlets and repeated agitation, 
the prospective enfranchisement of the freedmen gained 
what decency and common sense had long refused. 21 

Steps toward raising Negro troops in the city were 
taken in 1863, as soon as the efficiency of the Negro soldier 
had been proven. Several hundred prominent citizens 
petitioned the Secretary of War and were given permis- 
sion to raise Negro regiments. The troops were to receive 
no bounties, but were to have $10 a month and rations. 
They were to rendezvous at Camp William Penn, Chelten 
Hills. A mass meeting was soon held attended by the 
prominent caterers, teachers and merchants, together with 
white citizens, at which Frederick Douglass, W. D. Kelley 
and Anna Dickinson spoke. Over $30,000 was raised in 
the city by subscription, and the first squad of soldiers 
went into camp June 26, 1863. By December, three 



21 See Spiers' "Street Railway System of Philadelphia," pp. 23-27; 
also unpublished MS. of Mr. Bernheimer, on file among the senior theses 
in the Wharton School of Finance and Economy, University of Penn- 
sylvania. 



Sect. 1 2. J Influx of the Freedmen, 1870-1896. 39 

regiments were full, and by the next February, five. The 
first three regiments, known as the Third, Sixth and Eighth 
United States Regiments of Colored Troops, went promptly 
to the front, the Third being before Fort Wagner when it. 
fell. The other regiments followed as called, leaving still 
other Negroes anxious to enlist. 22 

After the war and emancipation great hopes were enter- 
tained by the Negroes for rapid advancement, and nowhere 
did they seem better founded than in Philadelphia. The 
generation then in its prime had lived down a most intense 
and bitter race feud' and had gained the respect of the 
better class of w T hites. They started with renewed zeal, 
therefore, to hasten their social development. 

12. The Influx of the Freedmen, 1870-1896. — The 
period opened stormily, on account of the political rights 
newly conferred on black voters. Philadelphia city politics 
have ever had a shady side, but when it seemed manifest 
that one political party, by the aid of Negro votes, was 
soon to oust the time-honored incumbents, all the lawless 
elements which bad city government for a half-century had 
nurtured naturally fought for the old regime. They found 
this the easier since the city toughs were largely Irish and 
hereditary enemies of the blacks. In the spring elections 
of 1 87 1 there was so much disorder, and such poor police 
protection, that the United States marines were called on 
to preserve order. 23 

In the fall elections street disorders resulted in the cold- 
blooded assassination of several Negroes, among whom was 
an estimable young teacher, Octavius V. Catto. The mur- 
der of Catto came at a critical moment ; to the Negroes it 
seemed a revival of the old slavery-time riots in the day 
when they were first tasting freedom ; to the better classes 
of Philadelphia it revealed a serious state of barbarism and 
lawlessness in the second city of the land ; to the politicians 

22 Pamphlet on " Enlistment of Negro Troops," Philadelphia Library. 

23 Cf. Scharf-Westcott, I, 837. 



40 Negro in Philadelphia, 1820-1^6. [Chap. IV. 

it furnished a text and example which was strikingly 
effective and which they did not hesitate to use. The 
result of all this was an outburst of indignation and sor- 
row, which was remarkable, and which showed a deter- 
mined stand for law and order. The outward expression 
of this was a great mass meeting, attended by some of the 
best citizens, and a funeral for Catto which was perhaps 
the most imposing ever given to an American Negro. 5 



24 



24 The following account of an eye-witness, Mr. W. C. Bolivar, is from 
the Philadelphia Tribune, a Negro paper : "In the spring election 
preceding the murder of Octavius V. Catto, there was a good deal of 
rioting. It was at this election that the United States Marines were 
brought into play under the command of Col. James Forney. Their very 
presence had the salutary effect of preserving order. The handwriting 
of political disaster to the Democratic party was plainly noticed. This 
galled 'the unterrified,' and much of the rancor was owing to the fact 
that the Negro vote would guarantee Republican supremacy beyond a 
doubt. Even then Catto had a narrow escape through a bullet shot at 
Michael Maher, an ardent Republican, whose place of business was at 
Eighth and Lombard streets. This assault was instigated by Dr. Gilbert, 
whose paid or coerced hirelings did his bidding. The Mayor, D. M. Fox, 
was a mild, easygoing Democrat, who seemed a puppet in the hands of 
astute conscienceless men. The night prior to the day in question, Octo- 
ber 10, 187 1, a colored man named Gordon was shot down in cold blood 
on Eighth street. The spirit of mobocracy filled the air, and the object 
of its spleen seemed to have been the colored men. A cigar store kept 
by Morris Brown, Jr., was the resort of the Pythian and Banneker mem- 
bers, and it was at this place on the night prior to the murder that Catto 
appeared among his old friends for the last time. When the hour arrived 
for home going, Catto went the near and dangerous way to his residence, 
814 South street, and said as he left, ' I would not stultify my manhood 
by going to my home in a roundabout way.' When he reached his 
residence he found one of its dwellers had his hat taken from him at a 
point around the corner. He went out and into one of the worst places 
in the Fourth Ward and secured it. 

"Intimidation and assault began with the opening of the polls. The 
first victim was Levi Bolden, a playfellow, as a boy, with the chronicler 
of these notes. Whenever they could conveniently catch a colored man 
they forthwith proceeded to assail him. Later in the day a crowd forced 
itself into Emeline street and battered in the brains of Isaac Chase, going 
into his home, wreaking their spite on this defenceless man, in the pres- 
ence of his family. The police force was Democratic, and not only stood 
idly by, but gave practical support. They took pains to keep that part 
of the city not in the bailiwick of the rioters from knowing anything of 



Sect. 12.] Influx of the Freedmen, i8j 0-1S '$6. 41 

This incident, and the general expression of opinion 
after the war, showed a growing liberal spirit toward the 



■what was transpiring. Catto voted and went to school, but dismissed it 
after realizing the danger of keeping it open during the usual hours. 
Somewhere near 3 o'clock as he neared his dwelling, two or three men 
were seen to approach him from the rear, and one of them, supposed to 
have been either Frank Kelly or Reddy Dever, pulled out a pistol and 
pointed it at Catto. The aim of the man was sure, and Catto barely got 
around a street car before he fell. This occurred directly in front of a 
police station, into which he was carried. The news spread in every 
direction. The wildest excitement prevailed, and not only colored men, 
but those with the spirit of fair play, realized the gravity of the situation, 
with a divided sentiment as to whether they ought to make an assault on 
the Fourth Ward or take steps to preserve the peace. The latter pre- 
vailed, and the scenes of carnage, but a few hours back, when turbulence 
was supreme, settled down to an opposite state of almost painful calm- 
ness. The rioting during that day was in parts of the Fifth, Seventh and 
Fourth wards, whose boundary lines met. It must not be supposed that 
the colored people were passive when attacked, because the records show 
' an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' in every instance. No pen 
is graphic enough to detail the horrors of that day. Each home was in 
sorrow, and strong men wept like children, when they realized how much 
had been lost in the untimely death of the gifted Catto. 

11 Men who had sat quietly unmindful of things not directly concerning 
themselves, were aroused to the gravity of the situation, wrought by the 
spirit of a mob, came out of their seclusion and took a stand for law and 
order. It was a righteous public sentiment that brought brute force to 
bay. The journals not only here, but the country over, with one voice 
condemned the lawless acts of October 10, 1871. Sympathetic public 
gatherings were held in many cities, with the keynote of condemnation 
as the only true one. Here in Philadelphia a meeting of citizens was 
held, from which grew the greater, held in National Hall, on Market 
street, below Thirteenth. The importance of this gathering is shown by 
a list its promoters. Samuel Perkins, Esq., called it to order, and the 
eminent Hon. Henry C. Carey presided. Among some of those in 
the list of vice-presidents were Hon. William M. Meredith, Gustavus 
S. Benson, Alex. Biddle, Joseph Harrison, George H. Stuart, J. Effing- 
ham Fell, George H. Boker, Morton McMichael, James L. Claghorn, F. 
C. and Benjamin H. Brewster, Thomas H. Powers, Hamilton Disston, 
William B. Mann, John W. Forney, John Price Wetherill, R. h. Ashhurst, 
William H. Kemble, William S. Stokley, Judge Mitchell, Generals 
Collis and Sickel, Congressmen Kelley, Harmer, Myers, Creely, O'Neill, 
Samuel H. Bell and hundreds more. These names represented the 
wealth, brains and moral excellence of this community. John Goforth, 
the eminent lawyer, read the resolutions, which were seconded in 



42 Negro in Philadelphia, 1820-1896. [Chap. IV. 

Negro in Philadelphia. There was a disposition to grant 
him, within limits, a man's chance to make his way in the 
world ; he had apparently vindicated his right to this in 
war, and his ability for it in peace. Slowly, but surely, 
therefore, the community was disposed to throw off the 
trammels, brush away petty hindrances and to soften the 
harshness of race prejudice, at least enough to furnish the 
new citizen the legal safeguards of a citizen and the per- 
sonal privileges of a man. By degrees the restrictions on 
personal liberty were relaxed ; the street cars, which for 

speeches by Hon. William B. Mann, Robert Purvis, Isaiah C. Weirs, 
Rev. J. Walker Jackson, Gen. C. H. T. Collis and Hon. Alex. K. 
McClure. These all breathed the same spirit, the condemnation of mob 
law and a demand for equal and exact justice to all. The speech of Col. 
McClure stands out boldly among the greatest forensic efforts ever known 
to our city. His central thought was ' the unwritten law,' which made 
an impression beyond my power to convey. In the meanwhile, smaller 
meetings were held in all parts of the city to record their earnest protest 
against the brute force of the day before. That was the end of disorder 
in a large scale here. On the sixteenth of October the funeral occurred. 
The body lay in state at the armory of the First Regiment, Broad and 
Race streets, and was guarded by the military. Not since the funeral 
cortege of President Lincoln had there been one as large or as imposing 
in Philadelphia. Outside of the Third Brigade, N. G. P., detached com- 
mands from the First Division, and the military from New Jersey, there 
were civic organizations by the hundreds from Philadelphia, to say 
nothing of various bodies from Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, 
New York and adjacent places. All the city offices were closed, beside 
many schools. City Councils attended in a body, the State Legislature 
was present, all the city employes marched in line, and personal friends 
came from far and near to testify their practical sympathy. The military 
was under the command of General Louis Wagner, and the civic bodies 
marshaled by Robert M. Adger. The pall-bearers were Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Ira D. Cliff, Majors John W. Simpson and James H. Grocker, Captains 
J. F. Needham and R. J. Burr, Lieutenants J. W. Diton, W. W. Morris 
and Dr. E. C. Howard, Major and Surgeon of the Twelfth Regiment. 
This is but a mere glance backward at the trying days of October, 1871, 
and is written to refresh the minds of men and women of that day, as 
well as to chronicle a bit of sad history that this generation may be 
informed. And so closed the career of a man of splendid equipment, 
rare force of character, whose life was so interwoven with all that was 
good about us, as to make it stand out in bold relief, as a pattern for 
those who have followed after." 



Sect. 12.] Influx of the Freedmen^ 1870- 1896. 43 

many years had sought by every species of proscription to 
get rid of colored passengers or carry them on the plat- 
form, were finally compelled by law to cancel such rules ; 
the railways and theatres rather tardily followed, and 
finally even the schools were thrown open to all. 25 A 
deep-rooted and determined prejudice still remained, but it 
showed signs of yielding. 

It cannot be denied that the main results of the develop- 
ment of the Philadelphia Negro since the war have on the 
whole disappointed his well-wishers. They do not pretend 
that he has not made great advance in certain lines, or 
even that in general he is not better off to-day than for- 
merly. They do not even profess to know just what his 
condition to-day is, and yet there is a widespread feeling 
that more might reasonably have been expected in the line 
of social and moral development than apparently has been 
accomplished. Not only do they feel that there is a lack 
of positive results, but the relative advance compared with 
the period just before the war is slow, if not an actual 
retrogression ; an abnormal and growing amount of crime 
and poverty can justly be charged to the Negro ; he is not 
a large taxpayer, holds no conspicuous place in the busi- 
ness world or the world of letters, and even as a working 
man seems to be losing ground. For these reasons those 
who, for one purpose and another, are anxiously watch- 
ing the development of the American Negro desire to 
know first how far these general impressions are true, what 
the real condition of the Negro is and what movements 
would best be undertaken to improve the present situa- 
tion. And this local problem is after all but a small 
manifestation of the larger and similar Negro problems 
throughout the land. 

For such ends the investigation, the results of which are 
here presented, was undertaken. This is not the first time 
such a study has been attempted. In 1837, 1847 an( ^ J ^5^ 

26 Cf. Appendix B. 



44 Negro in Philadelphia, 1820-189,6. [Chap. IV. 

studies were made by the Abolition Society and the Friends 
and much valuable data procured. 26 The United States 
censuses have also added to our general knowledge, and 
newspapers have often interested themselves in the matter. 
Unfortunately, however, the Friends' investigations are not 
altogether free from a suspicion of bias in favor of the 
Negro, the census reports are very general and newspaper 
articles necessarily hurried and inaccurate. This study 
seeks to cull judiciously from all these sources and others, 
and to add to them specially collected data for the years 
1896 and 1897. 

Before, however, we enter upon the consideration of this 
matter, we must bring to mind four characteristics of the 
period we are considering : (1) The growth of Philadelphia ; 

(2) the increase of the foreign population in the city; 

(3) the development of the large industry and increase of 
wealth, and (4) the coming in of the Southern freedmen's 
sons and daughters. Even Philadelphians hardly realize 
that the population of their staid old city has nearly 
doubled since the war, and that consequently it is not the 
same place, has not the same spirit, as formerly ; new men, 
new ideas, new ways of thinking and acting have gained 
some entrance ; life is larger, competition fiercer, and con- 
ditions of economic and social survival harder than formerly. 
Again, while there were perhaps 125,000 foreign born 
persons in the city in i860, there are 260,000 now, not to 



26 See Appendix C. The inquiry of 1838 was by the Philadelphia 
Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and the report was in 
two parts, one a register of trades and one a general report of forty 
pages. The Society of Friends, or the Abolition Society, undertook the 
inquiry of 1849, and published a pamphlet of forty-four pages. There 
was also the same year a report on the health of colored convicts. A 
pamphlet by Edward Needles was also published in 1849, comparing the 
Negroes in 1837 and 1848. Benjamin C. Bacon, at the instance of the 
Abolition Society, made the inquiry in 1856, which was published that 
year. In 1859, a second edition was issued with criminal statistics. All 
these pamphlets may be consulted at the Library Company of Philadel- 
phia, or the Ridgway branch. 



Sect. 12.] Influx of the Freedmen, 1870-1896. 45 

mention the children of the former born here. These 
foreigners have come in to divide with native Americans 
the industrial opportunities of the city, and have thereby 
intensified competition. Thirdly, new methods of con- 
ducting business and industry are now rife : the little shop, 
the small trader, the house industry have given way to the 
department store, the organized company and the factory. 
Manufacturing of all kinds has increased by leaps and 
bounds in the city, and to-day employs three times as many 
men as in i860, paying three hundred millions annually 
in wages ; hacks and expressmen have turned into vast 
inter-urban businesses : restaurants have become palatial 
hotels — the whole face of business is being gradually 
transformed. Finally, into this rapid development have 
precipitated themselves during the last twenty years fifteen 
thousand immigrants, mostly from Maryland, Virginia 
and Carolina — untrained and poorly educated countrymen, 
rushing from the hovels of the country or the cottages of 
country towns, suddenly into the new, strange life of a 
great city to mingle with 25,000 of their race already there. 
What has been the result ? 

[Note. — There was a small riot in 1843 during the time 
of Mayor Swift. In 1832 began a series of literary 
societies — the Library Company, the Banneker Society, etc., 
— which did much good for many years. The first Negro 
newspaper of the city, the u Demosthenian Shield," appeared 
in 1840. Among men not already mentioned in this period 
should be noted the Rev. C. W. Gardner, Dr. J. Bias, the 
dentist, James McCrummell, and Sarah M. Douglass. All 
these were prominent Negroes of the day and had much 
influence. The artist, Robert Douglass, is the painter of a 
portrait of Fannie Kemble, which its Philadelphia owner 
to-day prefers to attribute to Thomas Dudley.] 



CHAPTER V. 

THE SIZE, AGE AND SEX OF THE NEGRO POPULATION. 

13. The City for a Century. — The population of the 
county 1 of Philadelphia increased about twenty-fold from 
1790 to 1890; starting with 50,000 whites and 2500 
Negroes at the first census, it had at the time of the 
eleventh census, a million whites and 40,000 Negroes. Com- 
paring the rate of increase of these two elements of the 
population we have : 

Rates of Increase of Negroes and Whites. 



Decade from 


Negroes. 


Whites. 


Decade from 


Negroes. 


Whites. 


I 790-I 800 . . 
1800-1810 . . . 
1810-1820 . . . 
1820-18^0 . . . 
I 830- I 840 . . . 


176.42% 

52.93 
13.OO 

31-39 
27.07 


42.92% 

35-55 
22.80 

39.94 

37-54 


1 840- 1 850* . . 
1850-1860 . . 
1 860- 1 870* . . 
1870 1880 . . 
I 880- I 890 


•36% 
12.26 

• x 7 
43.13 
24.20 


63-30% 

39-67 

19.96 

25.08 

23.42 



* Decrease for Negroes. 



The first two decades were years of rapid increase for the 
Negroes, their number rising from 2489 in 1790 to 10,552 in 
1 810. This was due to the incoming of the new freedmen 
and of servants with masters, all to some extent attracted 
by the social and industrial opportunities of the city. 
The white population during this period also increased 
largely, though not so rapidly as the Negroes, rising from 



1 The unit for study throughout this essay has been made the county 
of Philadelphia, and not the city, except where the city is especially 
mentioned. Since 1854, the city and county have been coterminous. 
Even before that the population of the "districts " was for our purposes 
an urban population, and a part of the group life of Philadelphia. 

(46) 



Sect. 13.] 



The City for a Century. 



47 



51,902 in 1790 to 100,688 in 1810. During the next 
decade the war had its influence on both races although 
it naturally had its greatest effect on the lower which 
increased only 13 per cent against an increase of 28.6 per 
cent among the Negroes of the country at large. This 
brought the Negro population of the county to 11,891, 
while the white population stood at 123,746. During the 
next two decades, 1820 to 1840, the Negro population rose 
to 19,833, by natural increase and immigration, while the 
white population, feeling the first effects of foreign immi- 
gration, increased to 238,204. For the next thirty years 
the continued foreign arrivals, added to natural growth, 
caused the white population to increase nearly three-fold, 
while the same cause combined with others allowed an 
increase of little more than 2000 persons among the Negroes, 
bringing the black population up to 22,147. In the last 
two decades the rush to cities on the part of both white and 
black has increased the former to 1,006,590 souls and the 
latter to 39,371. The following table gives the exact 
figures for each decade : 

Population of Philadelphia, 1790-1890. 



Date. 


. Whites. 


Negroes. 


Total. 


City. 


County. 


City. 


County. 


City. 


County. 


1790 .... 
1800 .... 
1810 .... 
1820 .... 
1830 .... 
1838 .... 
1840 .... 

1847. • ■ • 
1850. . . . 
1856 .... 


56,220 

83,158 
110,640 


51,902 

74,129 
IOO,688 
123,746 
173, 173 

238,204 
389,OOI 


' 7*,582 

10,507 

11,000? 

10,736 


2,489 
6,880 
10,552 
11,891 
15,624 
17,500 

19,833 
20,240 
19,761 


28,55-2 
41,220 
53,722 
63,802 
80,462 

93,665 
121,376 


54,391 
81,009 

III, 240 
135,637 
188,797 

258,037 
408,762 


i860 .... 
1870 .... 
1880 .... 
1890 .... 


543,344 
651,854 

815,362 
1,006,590 


22,185 
22,147 
3 J ,699 
39.371 


565,529 
674,022* 
847,170* 
1,046,964* 



♦These totals include Chinese, Indians, etc. 



4 8 



Size, Age and Sex. 



[Chap. V. 



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20,000 



15,000 



10,000 



5000 



INCREASE OF THE NEGRO POPULATION IN PHILA- 
DELPHIA FOR A CENTURY. 

[Note. — Each horizontal line represents an increment of 
2500 persons in population ; the upright lines represent the 
decades. The broken diagonal shows the course of Negro 
population, and the arrows above recall historic events pre- 
viously referred to as influencing the increase of the 
Negroes. At the base of the upright lines is a figure 
giving the percentage which the Negro population formed 
of the total population.] 



Sect. 13.] 



The City for a Century. 



49 



The Negro has never formed a very large percent of the 
population of the city, as this diagram shows : 



9 10 Per.Ct 



1730 
1800 
1810 

1820 
1830 
1840 
1850 


[ LI, 








































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m2^^^m£i 
















I860 












1870 










1880 






1890 





















PROPORTION OF NEGROES IN TOTAL POPULATION OF PHILADELPHIA. 

A glance at these tables shows how much more sensitive 
the lower classes of a population are to great social changes 
than the rest of the group ; prosperity brings abnormal 
increase, adversity, abnormal decrease in mere numbers, not 
to speak of other less easily measurable changes. Doubt- 
less if we could divide the white population into social 
strata, we would find some classes whose characteristics 
corresponded in many respects to those of the Negro. Or 
to view the matter from the opposite standpoint we have 
here an opportunity of tracing the history and condition 
of a social class which peculiar circumstances have kept 
segregated and apart from the mass. 

If we glance beyond Philadelphia and compare con- 
ditions as to increase of Negro population with the situa- 
tion in the country at large we can make two interesting com- 
parisons : the rate of increase in a large city compared with 
4 



5° 



Size, Age and Sex. 



[Chap. V. 



that in the country at large ; and the changes in the propor- 
tion of Negro inhabitants in the city and the United States. 

Increase of Negroes in the United States and in the City 
of Phii.adei.phia Compared. 







Increase in 


Census Year. 


Percentage of Negroes 
in Total Population in 




Phila- 
delphia. 


United 
States. 


Phila- 
delphia. 


United 
States. 


1 790-1 800 . 
1800-1 8 ro . 
1810-1*20 . 
1820-1830 . 
1 830-1 840 . 
1 840-1 850 . 
1850-1860 . 
1860-1870 . 
1 870-1 880 . 
1880-1890 . 




% 
176.42 

52.93 
13.00 

31-39 
27.07 

.36* 
12.26 
.17* 

43.13 
24.20 


% 
32.33 
37.50 
28.59 

31.44 
23.40 
26.63 
22.07 
9.86 
34.85 
I3.5I 


I790 

1810 

1830 

T850 

1870 

1890 


% 
4-57 
8.49 
9-45 
8.76 
8.27 

7-39 
4.83 
3-92 
328 

3-74 
3-76 


% 
19.27 
18.88 
19.03 

18.39 
I8.IO 
16.84 
15.69 
14.13 

12.66 
13.12 
n-93 



* Decrease. 



A glance at the proportion of Negroes in Philadelphia 
and in the United States shows how largely the Negro 
problems are still problems of the country. (See diagram 
of the proportion of Negroes in the total population of 
Philadelphia and of the United States on opposite page.) 

This is even more striking if we remember that Phila- 
delphia ranks high in the absolute and relative number of 
its Negro inhabitants. For the ten largest cities in the 
United States we have : 

Ten Largest Cities in the United States Arranged According 

to Negro Population. 



Cities. 



1. Baltimore . 

2. Philadelphia 

3. St. Louis . 

4. New York 

5. Chicago. . 

6. Cincinnati 

7. Brooklyn . 

8. Boston . . 

9. Cleveland . 
to. San Francisco 



Negro 
Population. 



67,104 

39.371 

26,865 

23,601 

14,271 

H.655 

10,287 

8,125 

2,989 

1,847 



Cities. 



1. Baltimore . 

2. St. Louis . 

3. Philadelphia 

4. Cincinnati 

5. Boston 

6. New York 

7. Chicago . . 

8. Brooklyn . 

9. Cleveland . 
10. San Francisco 



Proportion 
of Negroes to 

Total 
Population. 



15-49! 
5-94 
3-76 
3-72 
1.76 

i-55 
1.29 
1.27 

1. 14 
.61 



Sect. 13.] 



The City for a Century. 



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52 



Size, Age and Sex. 



[Chap. V. 



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Sect. 13.] 



The City for a Century. 



53 



Of all the large cities in the United States, only three 
have a larger absolute Negro population than Philadelphia : 
Washington, New Orleans and Baltimore. We seldom 
realize that none of the great Southern cities, except the 
three mentioned, have a colored population approaching 
that of Philadelphia : 

Colored* Population of Largs Southern Cities. 





Colored 




Colored 


Cities. 


Inhabitants. 


Cities. 


Inhabitants. 


Washington, D. C. . 


75,697 


Nashville, Tenn. . . 


29,395 


New Orleans, La. . . 


64,663 


Memphis, Tenn. . . 


28,729 


Philadelphia, Pa. . . 


40,374* 


Louisville, Ky. . . . 


28,672 


Richmond, Va. . , . 


32,354 




28,117 


Charleston, S. C. . . 


3L036 


Savannah, Ga. . . . 


22,978 



* Includes Chinese, Japanese and civilized Indians, an insignificant number in 
these cases. 

Taken by itself, the Negro population of Philadelphia is 
no insignificant group of men, as the foregoing diagrams 
show. (See page 52.) 

In other words, we are studying a group of people the 
size of the capital of Pennsylvania in 1890, and as large as 
Philadelphia itself in 1800. 

Scanning this population more carefully, the first thing 
that strikes one is the unusual excess of females. This 
fact, which is true of all Negro urban populations, has not 
often been noticed, and has not been given its true weight 
as a social phenomenon. 2 If we take the ten cities having 
the greatest Negro populations, we have this table : 3 



3 My attention was first called to this fact by Professor Kelly Miller, 
of Howard University; cf. " Publications of American Negro Academy, " 
No. I. There is probably, in taking censuses, a larger percentage of 
omissions among males than among females; such omissions would, 
however, go but a small way toward explaining this excess of females. 

"In a good many of the Eleventh Census tables, " Chinese, Japanese 
and civilized Indians," were very unwisely included in the total of the 
Colored, making an error to be allowed for when one studies the Negro. 
In most cases the discrepancy can be ignored. In this case this fact but 
serves to decrease the excess of females, as these other groups have an 
excess of males. The city of Philadelphia has 1003 Chinese, Japanese 



54 Size, Age and Sex. [Chap. V. 

Colored* Population of Ten Cities by Sex. 



Cities. 



Washington . . 
New Orleans . 
Baltimore . . . 
Philadelphia . 
Richmond, Va. 
Nashville . . . 
Memphis . . . 
Charleston, S. C. 
St. Louis . . . 
Louisville, Ky. 



Total 



Proportion 



Males. 



1,000 



Females. 



33,831 


41,866 


28,936 


35.727 


29,165 


38,131 


18,960 


21,414 


14,216 


18,138 


13,334 


16,061 


13,333 


15,396 


14,187 


16,849 


13,247 


13,819 


13,348 


15,324 


192,557 


232,725 



1208.5 



* Includes Chinese, Japanese and civilized Indians — an element that can be 
ignored, being small. 

This is a very marked excess and has far-reaching effects. 
In Philadelphia this excess can be traced back some years : 
Phh.adei.phi a Negroes by Sex. 4 



County of Philadelphia. 


City of Philadelphia. 


Year. 


Males. 


Females. 


Number 

Females 

to 1000 

Males. 


Year. 


Males. 


Females. 


Number 
Females 

to IOOO 
Males. 


1820 . . 
1838 . . 
1840 . . 
1850 . . 
1890 . . 


5,220 
6,896 
8,316 


6,671 

9,146 

H,5I5 


1,091 
1,326 
1,387 


1820 . . 
1838 . . 
1840 . . 
1850 . . 
1890 . . 


3,156 
3,772 
3,986 

8,435 
18,960 


4,426 

5,304 

6,521 

11,326 

21,414 


1,383 
i,395 
1,630 

i,348 
1,127 



The cause of this excess is easy to explain. From the 
beginning the industrial opportunities of Negro women in 

and Indians. The figures for the whole United States show that this 
excess of females is probably confined to cities : 

Negroes According to Sex. 



section. 



MAI.ES. 



United States 
North Atlantic 
South Atlantic 
North Central 
South Central 
Western . . . 



3,725,5 6 i 
133,277 

1,613,769 
222,384 

1,739,565 
16,566 



FEMAI.ES. 



3,744,479 
136,629 

1,648,921 
208,728 

1,739,686 
10,5 r5 



4 Figures for other years have not been found. 



Sect. 13.] The City for a Century. 55 

cities have been far greater than those of men, through their 
large employment in domestic service. At the same time the 
restriction of employments open to Negroes, which per- 
haps reached a climax in 1 830-1 840, and which still plays 
a great part, has served to limit the number of men. The 
proportion, therefore, of men to women is a rough index 
of the industrial opportunities of the Negro. At first there 
was a large amount of work for all, and the Negro ser- 
vants and laborers and artisans poured into the city. This 
lasted up until about 1820, and at that time we find the 
number of the sexes approaching equality in the county, 
although naturally more unequal in the city proper. In 
the next two decades the opportunities for work were 
greatly restricted for the men, while at the same time, 
through the growth of the city, the demand for female 
servants increased, so that in 1840 we have about seven 
women to every five men in the county, and sixteen to 
every five in the city. Industrial opportunities for men then 
gradually increased largely through the growth of the city, 
the development of new callings for Negroes and the in- 
creased demand for male servants in public and private. 
Nevertheless the disproportion still indicates an unhealthy 
condition, and its effects are seen in a large percent of 
illegitimate births, and an unhealthy tone in much of the 
social intercourse among the middle class of the Negro 
population. 5 

Looking now at the age structure of the Negroes, we 
notice the disproportionate number of young persons, that 
is, women between eighteen and thirty and men between 
twenty and thirty-five. The colored population of Phila- 
delphia contains an abnormal number of young untrained 
persons at the most impressionable age ; at the age when, 



5 In social gatherings, in the churches, etc., men are always at a 
premium, and this very often leads to lowering the standard of admission 
to certain circles, and often gives one the impression that the social level 
of the women is higher than the level of the men. 



56 



Size, Age and Sex, 



[Chap. V. 



as statistics of the world show, the most crime is committed, 
when sexual excess is more frequent, and when there has 
not been developed fully the feeling of responsibility and 
personal worth. This excess is more striking in recent 
years than formerly, although full statistics are not 
available : 



Proportion of Population. 



Under 5 years 
Under 15 years 
15 to 50 years 
Over 50 years 



14.7 

33-6 
41.8 

9-9 



1880. 



9.8 



1890. 



7.8 
22.5 
63.6T 

6. ij 



* Including Chinese, Japanese and Indians. 1 15 to 55. % Over 55. 

This table is too meagre to be conclusive, but it is proba- 
ble that while the age structure of the Negro urban popu- 
lation in 1848 was about normal, it has greatly changed in 
recent years. Detailed statistics for 1890 make this 
plainer : 

Negroes* of Philadelphia by Sex and Age, 1890. 



Ages. 



Under 1 

1 to 4 . . 

5 to 9 . . 

10 to 14 . . 

15 to 19 . . 

20 to 24 . . 

25 to 29 . . 

30 to 34 . . 

35 to 44 . . 

45 to 54. . 

55 to 64 . . 
65 and over 
Unknown . 



Total 



Males. 


Per Cent. 


Females. 


Per Cent. 


400 


2.1 


369 


1-7 


1,121 


5-9 


1,264 


5-9 


1,458 


7-7 


1,515 


;7-i 


1,409 


7-5 


1,567 


7.4 


2,455 


7-7 


2,123 


9-9 


2,408 


I2.9 


3,133 


14.8 


1,521 


J 3-5 


2,774 


131 


2,034 


10.9 


2,046 


9.6 


3,375 


18.0 


3,139 


14.8 


1,645 


8.7 


1,783 


8.4 


581 


3-i 


799 


3.9 


376 


2.0 


726 


3-4 


177 




176 


• • 


18,960 


100.0 


21,414 


100.0 



Total. 



769 
2,385 

2,973 
2,976 

3,578 
5,541 
5,295 
4,080 

6,514 
3,428 
1,380 
1,102 

353 



4o,374 



♦Includes 1003 Chinese, Japanese and Indians. 

Comparing this with the age structure of other groups 
we have this table : 6 



6 The age groupings in these tables are necessarily unsatisfactory on 
account of the vagaries of the census. 



Sect. 13.] 



The City for a Century. 



57 



Age. 


Negroes of 
Philad'a. 


Negroes 
U. S. 


England. 


France. 


Germany. 


United 
States. 


Under 10 . 
10 to 20 . . 
20 to 30 . . 
30 and over 


15-31 
16.37 
27.08 
41.24 


28.22 

25-I9 
17.40 
29.19 


23-9 
21.3 
17.02 
37.6 


17.5 
17.4 

16.3 

48.8 


24.2 
20.7 
l6.2 
38.9 


24 29 
2I.70 
18.24 
35-77 



In few large cities does the age structure approach the 
abnormal condition here presented ; the most obvious com- 
parison would be with the age structure of the whites of 
Philadelphia, for 1890, which maybe thus represented : 





NEGRO A 

MALES aces FEMALES 








































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We find then in Philadelphia a steadily and, in recent 
years, rapidly growing Negro population, in itself as large 
as a good-sized city, and characterized by an excessive 
number of females and of young persons. 



58 Size, Age and Sex. [Chap. V. 

14. The Seventh Ward, 1896. — We shall now make a 
more intensive study of the Negro population, confining 
ourselves to one typical ward for the year 1896. Of 
the nearly forty thousand Negroes in Philadelphia in 1890, 
a little less than a fourth lived in the Seventh Ward, and 
over half in this and the adjoining Fourth, Fifth and 
Eighth Wards : 



Ward. 



Seventh 
Eighth 
Fourth 
Fifth . 



Negroes. 



Whites. 



8,86i 


21,177 


3,on 


i3,94o 


2,573 


17.792 


2,335 


14,619 



The distribution of Negroes in the other wards may be 
seen by the accompanying map. (See opposite page.) 

The Seventh Ward starts from the historic centre of 
Negro settlement in the city, South Seventh street and 
Lombard, and includes the long narrow strip, beginning at 
South Seventh and extending west, with South and Spruce 
streets as boundaries, as far as the Schuylkill River. The 
colored population of this ward numbered 3621 in i860, 
4616 in 1870, and 8861 in 1890. It is a thickly populated 
district of varying character ; north of it is the residence 
and business section of the city ; south of it a middle 
class and workingmen's residence section ; at the east end 
it joins Negro, Italian and Jewish slums ; at the west end, 
the wharves of the river and an industrial section separat- 
ing it from the grounds of the University of Pennsylvania 
and the residence section of West Philadelphia. 

Starting at Seventh street and walking along Lombard, 
let us glance at the general character of the ward. Pausing 
a moment at the corner of Seventh and Lombard, we can 
at a glance view the worst Negro slums of the city. The 
houses are mostly brick, some wood, not very old, and in 
general uncared for rather than dilapidated. The blocks 
between Eighth, Pine, Sixth and South have for many 
decades been the centre of Negro population. Here 



Sect. 14.] 



The Seventh Ward, iSp6. 



59 



the riots of the thirties took place, and here once was a 
depth of poverty and degradation almost unbelievable. 
Even to-day there are many evidences of degradation, 





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although the signs of idleness, shiftlessness, dissoluteness 
and crime are more conspicuous than those of poverty. 



60 Size, Age and Sex, [Chap. V. 

The alleys 7 near, as Ratcliffe street, Middle alley, Brown's 
court, Barclay street, etc., are haunts of noted criminals, 
male and female, of gamblers and prostitutes, and at the 
same time of many poverty-stricken people, decent but not 
energetic. There is an abundance of political clubs, and 
nearly all the houses are practically lodging houses, with 
a miscellaneous and shifting population. The corners, 
night and day, are filled with Negro loafers — able-bodied 
young men and women, all cheerful, some with good- 
natured, open faces, some with traces of crime and excess, 
a few pinched with poverty. They are mostly gamblers, 
thieves and prostitutes, and few have fixed and steady 
occupation of any kind. Some are stevedores, porters, 
laborers and laundresses. On its face this slum is noisy 
and dissipated, but not brutal, although now and then 
highway robberies and murderous assaults in other parts 
of the city are traced to its denizens. Nevertheless the 
stranger can usually walk about here day and night with 
little fear of being molested, if he be not too inquisitive. 8 
Passing up Lombard, beyond Eighth, the atmosphere 
suddenly changes, because these next two blocks have few 
alleys and the residences are good-sized and pleasant. 
Here some of the best Negro families of the ward live. 
Some are wealthy in a small way, nearly all are Philadel- 
phia born, and they represent an early wave of emigration 
from the old slum section. 9 To the south, on Rodman 



7 "In the Fifth Ward only there are 171 small streets and courts; 
Fourth Ward, 88. Between Fifth and Sixth, South and Lombard streets, 
15 courts and alleys." "First Annual Report College Settlement 
Kitchen." p. 6. 

8 In a residence of eleven months in the centre of the slums, I never 
was once accosted or insulted. The ladies of the College Settlement 
report similar experience. I have seen, however, some strangers here 
roughly handled. 

9 It is often asked why do so many Negroes persist in living in the 
slums. The answer is, they do not; the slum is continually scaling off 
emigrants for other sections, and receiving new accretions from without. 
Thus the efforts for social betterment put forth here have often their best 




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-yc-A 



Sect. 14.] The Seventh Ward, 1896. 61 

street, are families of the same character. North of 
Pine and below Eleventh there are practically no Negro 
residences. Beyond Tenth street, and as far as Broad 
street, the Negro population is large and varied in char- 
acter. On small streets like Barclay and its extension below 
Tenth — Souder, on Ivy, Rodman, Salem, Heins, Isemin- 
ger, Ralston, etc., is a curious mingling of respectable 
working people and some of a better class, with recent 
immigrations of the semi-criminal class from the slums. 
On the larger streets, like Lombard and Juniper, there live 
many respectable colored families — native Philadelphians, 
Virginians and other Southerners, with a fringe of more 
questionable families. Beyond Broad, as far as Sixteenth, 
the good character of the Negro population is maintained 
except in one or two back streets. 10 From Sixteenth to 
Eighteenth, intermingled with some estimable families, is 
a dangerous criminal class. They are not the low, open 
idlers of Seventh and Lombard, but rather the graduates of 
that school : shrewd and sleek politicians, gamblers and 
confidence men, with a class of well-dressed and partially 
undetected prostitutes. This class is not easily differen- 
tiated and located, but it seems to centre at Seventeenth 
and Lombard. Several large gambling houses are near 
here, although more recently one has moved below Broad, 
indicating a reshifting of the criminal centre. The whole 
community was an earlier immigration from Seventh and 
Lombard. North of Lombard, above Seventeenth, includ- 
ing Lombard street itself, above Eighteenth, is one of the 
best Negro residence sections of the city, centring about 
Addison street. Some undesirable elements have crept in 
even here, especially since the Christian League attempted to 

results elsewhere, since the beneficiaries move away and others fill their 
places. There is, of course, a permanent nucleus of inhabitants, and 
these, in some cases, are really respectable and decent people. The 
fore s that keep such a class in the slums are discussed further on. 

10 Gu1ielma street, for instance, is a notorious nest for bad characters, 
with only one or two respectable families. 



62 Size, Age and Sex. [Chap. V. 

clear out the Fifth Ward slums, 11 but still it remains a centre 
of quiet, respectable families, who own their own homes 
and live well. The Negro population practically stops at 
Twenty-second street, although a few Negroes live beyond. 

We can thus see that the Seventh Ward presents an epit- 
ome of nearly all the Negro problems ; that every class is 
represented, and varying conditions of life. Nevertheless 
one must naturally be careful not to draw too broad con- 
clusions from a single ward in one city. There is no proof 
that the proportion between the good and the bad here is 
normal, even for the race in Philadelphia ; that the social 
problems affecting Negroes in large Northern cities are 
presented here in most of their aspects seems credible, but 
that certain of those aspects are distorted and exaggerated 
by local peculiarities is also not to be doubted. 

In the fall of 1896 a house to house visitation was made 
to all the Negro families of this ward. The visitor went 
in person to each residence and called for the head of the 
family. The housewife usually responded, the husband 
now and then, and sometimes an older daughter or other 
member of the family. The fact that the University was 
making an investigation of this character was known and 
discussed in the ward, but its exact scope and character was 
not known. The mere announcement of the purpose 
secured, in all but about twelve cases, 12 immediate admis- 
sion. Seated then in the parlor, kitchen, or living room, 



11 The almost universal and unsolicited testimony of better class 
Negroes was that the attempted clearing out of the slums of the Fifth 
Ward acted disastrously upon them; the prostitutes and gamblers emi- 
grated to respectable Negro residence districts, and real estate agents, on 
the theory that all Negroes belong to the same general class, rented them 
houses. Streets like Rodman and Juniper were nearly ruined, and pro- 
perty which the thrifty Negroes had bought here greatly depreciated. It 
is not well to clean a cess-pool until one knows where the refuse can be 
disposed of without general harm. 

12 The majority of these were brothels. A few, however, were homes 
of respectable people who resented the investigation as unwarranted and 
unnecessary. 



Sect. 14.] The Seventh Ward, 1896. 63 

the visitor began the questioning, using his discretion as to 
the order in which they were put, and omitting or adding 
questions as the circumstances suggested. Now and then 
the purpose of a particular query was explained, and usually 
the object of the whole inquiry indicated. General discus- 
sions often arose as to the condition of the Negroes, which 
were instructive. From ten minutes to an hour was spent in 
each home, the average time being fifteen to twenty-five 
minutes. 

Usually the answers were prompt and candid, and gave 
no suspicion of previous preparation. In some cases 
there was evident falsification or evasion. In such cases 
the visitor made free use of his best judgment and either 
inserted no answer at all, or one which seemed approxi- 
mately true. In some cases the families visited were not at 
home, and a second or third visit was paid. In other cases, 
and especially in the case of the large class of lodgers, the 
testimony of landlords and neighbors often had to be taken. 

No one can make an inquiry of this sort and not be 
painfully conscious of a large margin of error from omis- 
sions, errors of judgment and deliberate deception. Of 
such errors this study has, without doubt, its full share. 
Only one fact was peculiarly favorable and that is the 
proverbial good nature and candor of the Negro. With 
a more cautious and suspicious people much less success 
could have been obtained. Naturally some questions were 
answered better than others ; the chief difficulty arising in 
regard to the questions of age and income. The ages 
given for people forty and over have a large margin of 
error, owing to ignorance of the real birthday. The ques- 
tion of income was naturally a delicate one, and often had 
to be gotten at indirectly. The yearly income, as a round 
sum, was seldom asked for ; rather the daily or weekly 
wages taken and the time employed during the year. 

On December 1, 1896, there were in the Seventh Ward 
of Philadelphia 9675 Negroes; 4501 males and 5174 



64 



Size, Age and Sex. 



[Chap. V. 



females. This total includes all persons of Negro descent, 

and thirty-three intermarried whites. 13 It does not include 

Negro Population of Seventh Ward. 



Age. 



Under 10 . . 
10 to 19 . . . 
20 to 29 . . . 
30 to 39 . . . 
40 to 49 . . . 
50 to 59 . . . 
60 to 69 . 
70 and over . 
Age unknown 



Total 



Male. 



570 


641 


483 


675 


1,276 


1,444 


1,046 


1,084 


553 


632 


298 


33* 


114 


155 


41 


96 


120 


116 



4,501 



Female. 



5,174 



Grand total 9,675 

residents of the ward then in prisons or in almshouses. 
There were a considerable number of omissions among the 
loafers and criminals without homes, the class of lodgers 
and the club-house habitues. These were mostly males, 
and their inclusion would somewhat affect the division by 
sexes, although probably not to a great extent. 14 The 
increase of the Negro population in this ward for six and a 
half years is 814, or at the rate of 14.13 per cent per decade. 
This is perhaps somewhat smaller than that for the popula- 
tion of the city at large, for the Seventh Ward is crowded and 
overflowing into other wards. Possibly the present Negro 
population of the city is between 43,000 and 45,000. At 
all events it is probable that the crest of the tide of immi- 
gration is passed, and that the increase for the decade 1890 
—1900 will not be nearly as large as the 24 per cent of the 
decade 1 880-1 890. 



13 Twenty-nine women and four men. The question of race inter- 
marriage is discussed in Chapter XIV. 

14 There may have been some duplication in the counting of servant 
girls who do not lodge where they work. Special pains was taken to 
count them only where they lodge, but there must have been some errors. 
Again, the Seventh Ward has a very large number of lodgers; some of 
these form a sort of floating population, and here were omissions; some 
were forgotten by landladies and others purposely omitted. 



Sect. 14.] 



The Seventh Ward, /Sp6. 



65 



The division by sex indicates still a very large, and it 
would seem, growing excess of women. The return shows 
1 150 females to every 1000 males. Possibly through 
the omission of men and the unavoidable duplication of 
some servants lodging away from their place of service, 
the disproportion of the sexes is exaggerated. At any rate 
it is great, and if growing, may be an indication of increased 
restriction in the employments open to Negro men since 
1880 or even since 1890. 

The age structure also presents abnormal features. 15 
Comparing the age structure with that of the large cities 
of Germany, we have : 



Age. 



Under 20 
20 to 40 . 
Over 40 . 



Negroes of 
Philadelphia. 



25.1 

51-3 
23.6 



Large Cities 
of Germany. 



39 3 

37-2 

23-5 



Comparing it with the Whites and Negroes in the city 
in 1890, we have : 



Age. 



Under 10 . 
10 to 20 . . 
20 to 30 . . 
30 and over 



Negroes of 

Philadelphia, 

1896, 

Seventh Ward. 


Negroes* 
of 
Philadelphia, 
1890. 


Native Whites 

of 
Philadelphia, 

1890. 


12.8% 
I2.3 
28.7 
46.2 


15.31% 
16.37 
27 08 
41.24 


24.6% 

19-5 
18.5 
37-4 



♦Includes 1003 Chinese, Japanese and Indians. 



As was noticed in the whole city in 1890, so here is even 
more striking evidence of the preponderance of young peo- 
ple at an age when sudden introduction to city life is apt 
to be dangerous, and of an abnormal excess of females. 



16 There is a wide margin of error in the matter of Negroes' ages, espe- 
cially of those above fifty; even of those from thirty -five to fifty, the age 
is often unrecorded and is a matter of memory, and poor memory at that. 
Much pains was taken during the canvass to correct errors and to throw 
out obviously incorrect answers. The error in the ages under forty is 
probably not large enough to invalidate the general conclusions; those 
under thirty are as correct as is general in such statistics, although the 

5 



CHAPTER VI. 

CONJUGAL CONDITION. 

15. The Seventh Ward. — The conjugal condition of 
the Negroes above fifteen years of age living in the Seventh 
Ward is as follows :* 



Conjugal Condition. 



Single 

Married 

Widowed 

Permanently separated 



Males. 



1,482 

1,876 

200 

18 



Per Cent. 



41.4 

52.5 

6.1 



Females. 



1,240 

1,918 

841 

66 



Percent. 



30-5 
47-1 

22.4 



Total 
Unknown 
Under 15 



3,576 
125 
800 



100.0 



4,065 
179 
930 



1 00.0 



Total population 



4,5oi 



5,174 



For a people comparatively low in the scale of civiliza- 
tion there is a large proportion of single men — more than 
in Great Britain, France or Germany ; the number of mar- 
ried women, too, is small, while the large number of wid- 
owed and separated indicates widespread and early breaking 



ages of children under ten is liable to err a year or so from the truth. 
Many women have probably understated their ages and somewhat 
swelled the period of the thirties as against the forties. The ages over 
fifty have a large element of error. 

1 There are many sources of error in these returns: it was found that 
widows usually at first answered the question " Are you married?" in 
the negative, and the truth had to be ascertained by a second question; 
unfortunate women and questionable characters generally reported 
themselves as married; divorced or separated persons called themselves 
widowed. Such of these errors as were made through misapprehension, 
were often corrected by additional questions; in case of designed decep- 
tion the answer was naturally thrown out if the deception was detected, 
which of course happened in few cases. The net result of these errors is 
difficult to ascertain: certainly they increase the apparent number of the 
truly widowed to some extent at the expense of the single and married. 

(66) 



Sect. 15.] The Seventh Ward. 67 

up of family life. 2 The number of single women is 
probably lessened by unfortunate girls, and increased some- 
what by deserted wives who report themselves as single. 
The number of deserted wives, however, allowing for false 
reports, is astoundingly large and presents many intricate 
problems. A very large part of charity given to Negroes 
is asked for this reason. The causes of desertion are partly 
laxity in morals and partly the difficulty of supporting a 
family. 

The lax moral habits of the slave regime still show 
themselves in a large amount of cohabitation without mar- 
riage. In the slum districts there are many such families, 
which remain together years and are in effect common law 
marriages. Some of these connections are broken by 
whim or desire, although in many cases they are permanent 
unions. 

The economic difficulties arise continually among 
young waiters and servant girls ; away from home and 
oppressed by the peculiar lonesomeness of a great city, 
they form chance acquaintances here and there, thought- 
lessly marry and soon find that the husband's income 
cannot alone support a family ; then comes a struggle 
which generally results in the wife's turning laundress, 
but often results in desertion or voluntary separation. 

The great number of widows is noticeable. The condi- 
tions of life for men are much harder than for women and 
they have consequently a much higher death-rate. Unac- 
knowledged desertion and separation also increases this 
total. Then, too, a large number of these widows are 



2 The number of actually divorced persons among the Negroes is 
naturally insignificant; on the other hand the permanent separations are 
large in number and an attempt has been made to count them. They do 
not exactly correspond to the divorce column of ordinary statistics and 
therefore take something from the married column. The number of 
widowed is probably exaggerated somewhat, but even allowing for errors, 
the true figure is high. The markedly higher death-rate for males has 
much to do with this. Cf. Chapter X. 



68 



Conjugal Condition. ' 



[Chap. VI. 



simply unmarried mothers and thus represent the unchastity 
of a large number of women. 3 

The result of this large number of homes without hus- 
bands is to increase the burden of charity and benevolence > 
and also on account of their poor home-life to increase 
crime. Here is a wide field for social regeneration. 

Separating the sexes by age periods according to conjugal 
condition we have these tables : 

Males. 



Conjugal Condition. 



Single . . 
Married 
Widowed 
Separated 



15-19. 

250 
2 



20-29. 



783 

474 

7 

3 



30-39- 



298 

681 

43 

9 



40-49. 



90 

396 

53 

5 







70 and 


Unk. 


50-59- 


60-69. 


over. 


Age. 


23 


6 


2 


20 


212 


79 


17 


15 


42 


30 


21 


4 


I 









Females. 



Conjugal Condition. 

Single 

Married .... 
Widowed .... 

Separated . . 















70 and 


15-19. 


20-29. 


30-39. 


40-49. 


50-59. 


60-69 


over. 


337 


559 


222 


68 


32 


9 


3 


35 


754 


633 


326 


no 


34 


4 


. . 


47 


192 


217 


179 


in 


88 


• • 


23 


22 


12 


5 


r 


1 



Unk. 
Age. 

IO 
22 

9 

2 



When we remember that in slavery-time slaves usually 
began to cohabit at an early age, these figures indicate 
the sudden and somewhat disastrous application of the 
preventive check to population through the economic stress 
of life in large cities. Negro girls no longer marry in 
their 'teens as their mothers and grandmothers did. Of 
those in the twenties over 40 per cent are still unmarried, 
and of those in the thirties 21 per cent. So sudden a 
change in marriage customs means grave dangers, as shown 
by the fact that forty-five of the married couples under 
forty were permanently separated and 239 women were 
widowed. 



3 Unfortunately Philadelphia has no reliable registration of births, and 
the illegitimate birth rate of Negroes cannot be ascertained. This is 
probably high judging from other conditions. 



Sect. 15.] 



The Seventh Ward. 



69 



If we reduce the general conjugal condition to per cents, 
we have this table : 

Men. 



Conjugal Condition. 


15-40. 


4C-60. 


Over 60. 


Married 


i,333 

i,i57 

50 

12 

2,552 


52.2 

45-3 

},5 


113 

60S 

95 
6 

822 


% 

13-7 

73-9 

} 12.4 


. 8 
96 

51 


5-1 
62.0 

32.9 


Total 


IOO 


IOO 


155 


IOO 



Here it is plain that although a large per cent of men 
under forty marry there is nevertheless a number who wait 
until they are settled in life and have a competence. With 
the mass of Negroes, however, the waiting past the fortieth 
year means simply increased caution about marriage ; or, 
if they are widowers, about remarriage. Consequently 
while, for instance, in Germany 84.8 per cent of the men 
from forty to sixty are married, among the Negroes of this 
ward less than 74 per cent are married. At the same time 
there are indications of a large number of broken marriage 
ties. Of the men under forty the bulk marry late, that is 
in the thirties : 





Conjugal 


Condition. 


20-29. 


30-39- 




6l.8% 
37-4 

} * 


29% 

66 


Married 




5 


Total 


IOO% 


100% 



Turning now to the women, we have a table in which 



Conjugal 


15-40. 


40-60. 


Over 60. 


Condition. 


Number. 


Per Cent. 


Number. 


Per Cent. 


Number. 


Per Cent. 


Single .... 
Married . . . 
Widowed . . . 
Separated . . . 


I,Il8 

1,422 

239 

45 


39-6 

50-3 

\ IO. I 


IOO 

436 

{ 396 

\ 17 

949 


IO.5 
46.O 

} 43-5 
IOO 


12 

38 


4-9 

15 

} 80.1 


Total .... 


2,824 


IOO 


251 


IOO 



7 o 



Conjugal Condition. 



[Chap. VI. 



the noticeable feature is the extraordinary number of wid- 
owed and separated persons, indicating economic stress, a 
high death-rate and lax morality. Such are the social 
results of a large excess of young women in a city where 
young men cannot afford to marry. Of the women below 
forty, we have this tabulation : 



Conjugal Condition. 


J5-19- 


20-29. 


30-39- 




90.6% 
9.4 

} - 


40.4% 
54-5 

5-1 


208 
59-2 

20.0 



The comparatively large number of separations is here 
to be noticed, and the fact that over a fifth of the women 
between thirty and forty are unmarried and 40 per cent 
are without husbands. 

From all these statistics, making some allowance for the 
small number of persons counted and the peculiar 
conditions of the ward, we may conclude : 

1. That a tendency to much later marriage than under 
the slave system is revolutionizing the Negro family and 
incidentally leading to much irregularity. 

2. There is nevertheless still the temptation for young 
men and women under forty to enter into matrimony 
before their economic condition warrants it. 

3. Among persons over forty there is a marked tendency 
to single life. 

4. The very large number of the widowed and separated 
points to grave physical, economic and moral disorder. 

16. The City. — The census of 1890 showed that the 
conjugal condition of Negroes in the city was as follows : 



Conjugal Condition. 


Males over 15 


Females 


over 15 


Number. 


Per Cent. 


Number 


Per Cent. 


Divorced 


6,047 

7,042 

603 

15 


44.O 

51-3 
4.4 

•3 


6,267 

7,154 
3,078 

35 


37-8 
425 
18.6 

I.I 






Total 


13,707 


IOO 


16,534 


IOO 



Sect. 1 6.] 



The City. 



n 



Similar statistics for native whites with native parents 
for the city, are : 



Conjugal Condition. 



Single . 
Married . 
Widowed 
Divorced 



Total 



100% 



Males 


Females 


over 15. 


over 15. 


43-2% 


33.0% 


52.0 


49.O 


4-5 


13-7 


•3 


•3 



100% 



These figures, although six years earlier, for the most part 
confirm the statistics of the Seventh Ward, except in the 
statistics of separation. In this respect the returns for the 
Seventh Ward are probably more reliable as the census 
counted only actually divorced persons. The largest dis- 
crepancy is in the percentage of single females ; this prob- 
ably comes from the fact that outside the Seventh Ward 
the single servant girls form a large part of the Negro 
population. On the whole it is noticeable that the conjugal 
condition of the Negroes approaches so nearly that of the 
whites, when the economic and social history of the two 
groups has been so strikingly different. 

These statistics are the best measurements of the condi- 
tion and tendencies of the Negro Home which we have, 
and although, they are crude and difficult in some cases 
rightly to interpret, yet they shed much light on the 
problem. First it must be remembered that the Negro 
home and the stable marriage state is for the mass of the 
colored people of the country and for a large per cent of 
those of Philadelphia, a new social institution. The strictly 
guarded savage home life of Africa, which with all its 
shortcomings protected womanhood, was broken up com- 
pletely by the slave ship, and the promiscuous herding of 
the West Indian plantation put in its stead. From this 
evolved the Virginia plantation where the double row of 
little slave cabins were but parts of a communistic pater- 
nalism centering in the Big House which was the real centre 



J 2 Conjugal Condition, [Chap. VI. 

of the family life. Even in Pennsylvania where the plan- 
tation system never was developed the slave family was 
dependent in morals as well as work upon the master. 
With emancipation the Negro family was first made inde- 
pendent and with the migration to cities we see for the first 
time the thoroughly independent Negro family. On the 
whole it is a more successful institution than we had a 
right to expect, even though the Negro has had a couple of 
centuries of contact with some phases of the monogamic 
ideal. 4 The great weakness of the Negro family is still 
lack of respect for the marriage bond, inconsiderate 
entrance into it, and bad household economy and family 
government. Sexual looseness then arises as a secondary 
consequence, bringing adultery and prostitution in its train. 
And these results come largely from the postponement of 
marriage among the young. Such are the fruits of sudden 
social revolution. 5 



4 And, to tell the truth, contact with some very unsavory phases of it. 

5 There can be no doubt but what sexual looseness is to-day the pre- 
vailing sin of the mass of the Negro population, and that its prevalence 
can be traced to bad home life in most cases. Children are allowed on 
the street night and day unattended; loose talk is often indulged in; the 
sin is seldom if ever denounced in the churches. The same freedom is 
allowed the poorly trained colored girl as the white girl who has come 
through a strict home, and the result is that the colored girl more often 
falls. Nothing but strict home life can avail in such cases. Of course 
there is much to be said in palliation: the Negress is not respected by 
men as white girls are, and consequently has no such general social 
protection; as a servant, maid, etc., she has peculiar temptations; 
especially the whole tendency of the situation of the Negro is to kill his 
self-respect which is the greatest safeguard of female chastity. 



CHAPTER VII. 

SOURCES OF THE NEGRO POPULATION." 

17. The Seventh Ward. — We have seen that there is in 
Philadelphia a large population of Negroes, largely young 
unmarried folks with a disproportionate number of women. 
The question now arises, whence came these people ? How 
far are they native Philadelphians, and how far immigrants, 
and if the latter, how long have they been here? Much 
depends on the answer to these questions ; no conclusions 
as to the effects of Northern city conditions on Negroes, as 
to the effects of long, close contact with modern culture, 
as to the general question of social and economic survival 
on the part of this race, can be intelligently answered until 
we know how long these people have been under the 
influence of given conditions, and how they were trained 
before they came. 1 

It is often tacitly assumed that the Negroes of Philadel- 
phia are one homogeneous mass, and that the slums of the 
Fifth Ward, for instance, are one of the results of long 
contact with Philadelphia city life on the part of this 
mass. There is just enough truth and falsehood in such an 
assumption to make it dangerously misleading. The slums 
of Seventh and Lombard streets are largely the results of 
the contact of the Negro with city life, but the Negro in 
question is a changing variable quantity and has felt city 



1 The chief source of error in the returns as to birthplace are the 
answers of those who do not desire to report their birthplace as in the 
South. Naturally there is considerable social distinction between 
recently arrived Southerners and old Philadelphians; consequently the 
tendency is to give a Northern birthplace. For this reason it is probable 
that even a smaller number than the few reported were really born in 
the city. 

(73) 



74 



Sources of the Negro Population. [Chap. VII. 



influences for periods varying in different persons from one 
day to seventy years. A generalization then that includes 
a North Carolina boy who has migrated to the city for 
work and has been here for a couple of months, in the 
same class with a descendant of several generations of 
Philadelphia Negroes, is apt to make serious mistakes. The 
first lad may deserve to be pitied if he falls into dissipation 
and crime, the second ought perhaps to be condemned 
severely. In other words our judgment of the thousands 
of Negroes of this city must be in all cases considerably 
modified by a knowledge of their previous history and 
antecedents. 

Of the 9675 Negroes in the Seventh Ward, 9138 gave 
returns as to their birthplace. Of these, there were born : 

In Philadelphia 2939 or 32.1 per cent. 

In Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia . 526 or 6.0 " 
In the New England and Middle States . 485 or 5.3 " 

In the South 4980 or 54.3 " 

In the West and in foreign lands .... 208 or 2.3 " 

That is to say, less than one-third of the Negroes living 
in this ward were born here, and over one-half were born 
in the South. Separating them by sex and giving their 
birthplaces more in detail, we have : 

Birthplace oe Negroes, Seventh Ward. 



Born in 



Philadelphia . 

Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia . . 

Virginia ... 

Maryland 

Delaware 

New Jersey 

District of Columbia 

Other parts, and undesignated parts, of the 

South 

Other New England and Middle States . 

Western States 

Foreign countries 

Unknown 



Total 



Males. 


Females. 


1,307 


1,632 


231 


295 


939 


I,OI2 


55o 
168 


794 
296 


141 
146 


190 
165 


528 
62 
28 


382 
92 
27 


no 

291 


43 

246 


4,501 


5,174 



Total. 



2,939 

526 

1,951 

1,344 
464 

33i 
3ii 

910 
154 
55 
153 
537 

9675 



Sect. 17.] 



The Seventh Ward, 



75 



This means that a study of the Philadelphia Negroes 
would properly begin in Virginia or Maryland and that 
only a portion have had the opportunity of being reared 
amid the advantages of a great city. To study this even 
more minutely let us divide the population according to 
age periods : 

Birthplace by Age Periods. 



Birthplace. 



Philadelphia 

Pennsylvania 

Virginia, Maryland, 
New Jersey, Dela- 
ware, District of Co- 
lumbia 

South in general . . . 

North 

West 

Foreign lands .... 

Unknown ...... 



Total 1,211 



0-9. 


10-20. 


21-30. 


31-40. 


Over 

40. 


Un- 
known. 


1,604 
8 


737 
52 


502 
185 


289 
no 


396 
168 


II 
3 


137 
20 
11 
10 


432 

79 
12 

9 


1,564 

375 

45 

12 


1,150 

259 

36 

18 


1,090 

175 

48 

6 


28 
2 
2 
O 


2 
19 


2 
19 


63 

142 


43 
105 


42 
63 


I 
I89 

* 236 


1,211 


1,342 


2,888 


2,010 


1,988 



Total. 



2,939 
526 



4,401 

910 

154 

55 
153 
537 

9,675 



That the Negro immigration to the city is not an influx 
of whole families is shown by the fact that 83 per cent of 
the children under ten were born in Philadelphia. Of the 
youth from ten to twenty about one-half were born in the 
city. The great influx comes in the years from twenty-one 
to thirty, for of these but 17 per cent were born in the 
city ; of the men and women born between 1S56 and 1865, 
that is, in war time, about one-seventh were born in the 
city; of the freedmen, that is those born before 1856, a 
larger portion, one-fifth, were born in Philadelphia. The 
wave of immigration may therefore be thus plotted : 



76 



Sources of the Negro Population. [Chap. VII. 




THE WAVE OF NEGRO IMMIGRATION. 

The square represents the Negro population of the 
Seventh Ward, divided into segments according to age by 
the upright lines ; the shaded portions show the proportion 
of immigrants. 

Further detailed information as to birthplace is given in 
the next table. (See pages yy and 78.) 

Much of the immigration to Philadelphia is indirect ; 
Negroes come from country districts to small towns ; then go 
to larger towns ; eventually they drift to Norfolk, Va., or 
to Richmond. Next they come to Washington, and finally 
settle in Baltimore or Philadelphia. 2 The training they 
receive from such wanderings is not apt to improve young 
persons greatly, and the custom has undoubtedly helped to 
swell the numbers of a large migratory criminal class who 
are often looked upon as the product of particular cities, 
when, as a matter of fact, they are the offscourings of 



2 Compare "The Negroes of Farmville: A Social Study," in Bulletin 
of U. S. Labor Bureau, January, 1898. 



Sect. 17.] 



The Seventh Ward. 



77 



PHILADELPHIA— NEGROES OF SEVENTH WARD, 1896. 
Birthplace— Mai.es by Five Age Periods. 















Over 


Un- 


Section 


Place. 


0-9. 


10-20. 


21-30. 


31-40. 


40. 


known. 


City. 


Philadelphia 


486 


337 


208 


123 


151 


2 


State. 


Pennsylvania . . 


5 


20 


92 


49 


64 


I 






10 


14 


3i 


42 


44 


O 


"C in 




20 


48 


164 


137 


176 


5 




Virginia 


*9 


48 


420 


268 


178 


6 




District of Columbia . 


6 


13 


55 


50 


22 





V 

55 




2 


12 


40 


42 


7i 


1 




North Carolina .... 


5 


21 


97 


63 


35 







South Carolina .... 





5 


22 


16 


11 


1 












14 


5 


10 









1 


1 


11 


5 


1 















2 





4 





£ 













2 








3 










4 


1 


1 





(0 


West Virginia .... 





1 


13 


3 


4 












1 


2 


4 


3 















9 


3 


2 





















2 















1 


2 










•'South" 


1 


5 


55 


5o 


29 





*4<£ 


Massachusetts .... 


1 


2 


7 


1 


4 





*?$fl 




2 





1 


1 


2 









1 


4 


8 


5 


15 










2 


1 


3 








(0 










1 


1 












1 
























1 














•M 


Ohio 





4 


4 


5 


3 





(0 







1 














p 










2 


2 










California 











1 





















2 


2 















37 


30 


24 









2 





1 


1 


3 





CO 










3 


1 


















2 











*3 










1 











fc U 













1 





















1 










South America .... 











2 


1 





? 




8 


7 


87 


56 


25 


108 



78 



Sources of the Negro Population. [Chap. VII. 



PHILADELPHIA— NEGROES OF SEVENTH WARD, 1896. 
Birthplace — Females by Five Age Periods. 



Section 



City. 



State. 



.2 

O v 
Jig 






V 



04(§ CO 



tL O 



Place. 



Philadelphia . . . . 

Pennsylvania . . . . 

New Jersey 

Maryland 

Virginia 

District of Columbia 
Delaware 

North Carolina . . . 
South Carolina . . . 

Georgia 

Florida 

Alabama 

Mississippi 

Louisiana 

West Virginia . . . 

Kentucky 

Tennessee 

Missouri 

Texas 

Arkansas 

'•South" 

Massachusetts . . . 
Connecticut . . . . 

New York 

Rhode Island . . . . 
Maine 

Minnesota 

Ohio 

Michigan 

Delaware 

Kansas 

West Indies . . . . 

Canada 

South America . . . 

Cuba 

Europe* 

Unknown 



0-9. 



5i8 



15 
16 

35 

13 

1 



11 



400 



32 



19 
92 

129 

3i 
26 



3i 
4 
3 
1 
o 

3 
o 
1 
o 
o 
o 
o 
o 
3 



o 
o 
o 
o 

2 
12 



21-30. 



294 



93 



44 

254 

43i 

69 

56 



66 

8 

12 

5 
6 

1 
1 
7 

3 

1 
1 
o 

1 
33 



5 

4 

17 

1 

o 



7 
3 
1 
1 
_7_ 

55 



31-40. 



166 



61 



52 

217 
242 

29 
7i 



3 2 
12 

4 
1 
o 

3 
2 

9 
1 
2 
2 
1 
o 
36 



4 
2 

15 

4 
o 



1 

3 
o 
o 
3 

49 



Over 
40. 



245 



104 



58 
211 
169 

22 
139 



32 
II 

3 
o 
o 

I 

2 
I 

I 

4 
2 

o 
o 

16 



3 
10 

9 
2 

3 



38 



Un- 
known. 



8l 



* Intermarried whites. 



country districts, sharpened and prepared for crime by the 
slums of many cities through which they have passed. 



Sect. 17.] 



The Seventh Ward. 



79 



Besides these, there is the large and well-intentioned class 
who are seeking to better their lot and are attracted by 
the larger life of the city. 

Much light, therefore, will be thrown on the question of 
migration if we take the Negro immigrants as a class and 
inquire how long they have lived in the city ; we can sepa- 
rate the immigrants into four classes, corresponding to the 
waves of immigration : first, the ante-bellum immigrants, 
resident thirty-five years or more ; second, the refugees of 
war time and the period following, resident twenty-one to 
thirty-four years ; third, the laborers and sightseers of the 
time of the Centennial, resident ten to twenty years ; 
fourth, the recent immigration, which may be divided into 
those resident from five to nine years, from one to four 
years, and those who have been in the city less than a 
year. Of 5337 immigrants, 3 the following classes may be 
made : 



Arrived since De- 
cember 1. 


Resident. 


Number. 


Per cent. 


Per cent. 


1895 

1887 

1875 

Before i860 . . - 


Years. 
Under 1 

1 to 4 

5 to 9 

10 to 20 

21 to 34 

35 and over. 


293 
1,242 
1,308 

1. 143 

1,040 

311 


5-5 

23.2 

24.5 

21.4 

19.4 

6.0 


} 28.7 
} 45-9 
} 25.4 

roo 


[ 53-2 
| 46.8 


Before 1896 . . 





5,337 


100 


100 



Thus we see that the majority of the present immigrants 
arrived since 1887, and nearly 30 per cent since 1892. 
Carrying out the division by age periods, we have : 



8 In the case of lodgers not at home and sometimes of members of 
families answers could not be obtained to this question. There were in 
all 862 persons born outside the city from whom answers were not 
obtained. 



8o 



Sources of the Negro Population. [Chap. VII. 



Afje. 

Years Resident. 


0-9. 


10-20. 


21-30. 


31-40. 


Over 40. 


Un- 
known. 


Under I year .... 

I to 4 years .... 

5 to 9 years .... 
io to 20 years .... 
21 to 34 years .... 
35 years and over . . 


40 

77 

48 








56 
181 

139 

103 






113 

648 
603 

343 

107 




60 
239 
355 
449 
334 

17 


22 

94 

157 
238 

595 
294 


3 

3 

6 

10 

4 



Total 


165 


479 


1,814 


1,454 


1,400 


26 



This table simply confirms the testimony of others as to 
the recent immigration of young people. Without doubt 
these statistics of immigration considerably understate the 
truth ; strong social considerations lead many Negroes to 
give their birthplace as Philadelphia when, as a matter of 
fact, it may be elsewhere. We may then safely conclude 
that less than a third of the Negroes in the city were born 
here, and of the others less than a quarter have been resi- 
dent twenty years or more. So that half the Negro popu- 
lation can not in any sense be said to be a product of the 
city, but rather represents raw material, whose transforma- 
tion forms a pressing series of social problems. Of course, 
not all immigrants are undesirable material, nor are the 
native Negroes all creditable to the city ; on the contrary, 
many of the best specimens of Negroes both past and 
present were not born in the city, 4 while some of the most 
baffling problems arise as to the young people of native 
families. Nevertheless, as a whole, it is true that the 
average of culture and wealth and social efficiency is far 
lower among immigrants than natives, and that this gives 
rise to the gravest of the Negro problems. 

18. The City. — The available figures for the past are not 
many nor altogether reliable, yet it seems probable that 
the per cent of immigrants to-day is as large as at any 
previous time and perhaps larger. In 1848, 57.3 per cent 
of 15,532 Negroes were natives of the State, and the 



* Absalom Jones, Dorsey, Minton, Henry Jones and Augustin were 
none of them natives of Philadelphia. 



Sect. 18.] The City. 81 

remaining 42.7 per cent immigrants. In 1890 we have 
only figures for the whole State, which show that 45 per 
cent of the Negroes were immigrants mainly from Vir- 
ginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, 
etc. 5 For Philadelphia the percentage would probably 
be higher. 

The new immigrants usually settle in pretty well-defined 
localities in or near the slums, and thus get the worst pos- 
sible introduction to city life. In 1848, five thousand of 
the 6600 immigrants lived in the narrow and filthy alleys 
of the city and Moyamensing. To-day they are to be 
found partly in the slums and partly in those small streets 
with old houses, where there is a dangerous intermingling 
of good and bad elements fatal to growing children and 
unwholesome for adults. Such streets may be found in the 
Seventh Ward, between Tenth and Juniper streets, in parts 
of the Third and Fourth Wards and in the Fourteenth and 
Fifteenth Wards. This mingling swells the apparent size 
of many slum districts, and at the same time screens the 
real criminals. Investigators are often surprised in the 
worst districts to see red-handed criminals and good-hearted, 
hard-working, honest people living side by side in apparent 
harmony. Even when the new immigrants seek better 
districts, their low standard of living and careless appear- 
ance make them unwelcome to the better class of blacks and 
to the great mass of whites. Thus they find themselves 

5 Chinese, Japanese and Indians are included in these tables. The 
exact figures are: 

Negro population of Pennsylvania 107,626 

Of these, born in Pennsylvania 58,681 

Virginia 19,873 

Maryland 12,202 

Delaware 4,851 

New Jersey 1,786 

New York 891 

North Carolina 1,362 

District Columbia 1,131 

Unknown 1,804 

6 



\ 



82 Sources of the Negro Population. [Chap. VII. 

hemmed in between the slums and the decent sections, 
and they easily drift into the happy-go-lucky life of 
the lowest classes and rear young criminals for our jails. 
On the whole, then, the sociological effect of the immigra- 
tion of Negroes is the same as that of illiterate foreigners 
to this country, save that in this case the brunt of the 
burden of illiteracy, laziness and inefficiency has been, by 
reason of peculiar social conditions, put largely upon the 
shoulders of a group which is least prepared to bear it. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

EDUCATION AND ILLITERACY. 

19. The History of Negro Education. — Anthony 
Benezet and the Friends of Philadelphia have the honor 
of first recognizing the fact that the welfare of the State 
demands the education of Negro children. On the 
twenty-sixth of January, 1770, at the Philadelphia Monthly 
Meeting of Friends, the general situation of the Negroes, 
and especially the free Negroes, was discussed. On motion 
of one, probably Benezet, it was decided that instruction 
ought to be provided for Negro children. 1 A committee 
was appointed, and on February 30 this committee pro- 
posed " that a committee of seven Friends be nominated 
by the Monthly Meeting, who shall be authorized to 
employ a schoolmistress of prudent and exemplary con- 
duct, to teach not more at one time than thirty children in 
the first rudiments of school learning, and in sewing and 
knitting. That the admission of scholars into the said 
school be entrusted to the said committee, giving to the 
children of free Negroes and Mulattoes the preference, and 
the opportunity of being taught clear of expense to their 
parents." A subscription of ^100 (about $266.67) was 
recommended for this purpose. This report was adopted, 
and the school opened June 28, 1770, with twenty-two 
colored children in attendance. In September the pupils 
had increased to thirty-six, and a teacher in sewing and 
knitting was employed. Afterward those who could, were 
required to pay a sum, varying from seven shillings six- 
pence to ten shillings per quarter, for tuition. The following 



1 This account is mainly from the pamphlet: "A Brief Sketch of the 
Schools for Black People," etc. Philadelphia, 1867. 

(83) 



84 Education and Illiteracy, [Chap. VIII. 

year a school-house was built on Walnut street, below 
Fourth — a one-story brick building, 32 by 18 feet. 

From 1770 to 1775 two hundred and fifty children and 
grown persons were instructed. Interest, however, began 
to wane, possibly under the war-cloud, and in 1775 but 
five Negro children were in attendance and some white 
children were admitted. Soon, however, the parents were 
aroused, and we find forty Negroes and six whites attend- 
ing. 

After the war Benezet took charge of the school and 
held it in his house at Third and Chestnut. At his death, 
in 1784, he left a part of his estate to " hire and employ a 
religious-minded person or persons to teach a number of 
Negro, Mulatto or Indian children, to read, write, arithme- 
tic, plain accounts, needle-work, etc." Other bequests 
were received, including one from a Negro, Thomas Shir- 
ley, and from this fund the schools, afterward known as the 
Raspberry street schools, were conducted for many years, 
and a small school is still maintained. In the early part 
of the century sixty to eighty scholars attended the school, 
and a night school was opened. In 1844 a lot on Raspberry 
street was purchased, and a school-house erected. Here, 
from 1844 to 1866, eight thousand pupils in all were 
instructed. 

Public schools for Negroes were not established until 
about 1822, when the Bird school, now known as the 
James Forten, was opened on Sixth street, above Lombard ; 
in 1830 an unclassified school in West Philadelphia was 
begun, and in 1833 the Coates street school, now known 
as the Vaux school, on Coates street (now called Fairmount 
Avenue), near Fifth, was established. Other schools were 
opened at Frankford in 1839, at Paschalville in 1841, on 
Corn street in 1849, an< ^ a ^ Holmesburg in 1854. In 
1838 the Negro school statistics were as follows : 



Sect. 19.] History of Negro Education. 



85 



Negro School Statistics, 1838. 



Schools. 


Pupils 
Enrolled. 


Average 
Attendance. 




I,Il6 
226 
I02 
288" 


713 

125 

89 

260 


3 pay schools, white teachers 




1,732 


1,187 





Total children of school age 3,025. 



Ten years later school facilities had greatly increased: 



Negro School Statistics, 1847. 



Schools. 


Pupils 
Enrolled. 


Abolition Society Infant School, Lombard street 


463 

70 

226 




155 
113 
166 
207 

32 
8l 
12 

67 
296 




Shiloh Baptist Church Infant School, Clifton and Cedar Sts. 
Bedford Street School 

Public School, Oak street, West Philadelphia 

At twenty private schools 




Total 


1,888 




504 
2,074 








4,466 



This would seem to indicate a smaller percentage of 
children in school than in the last decade — a natural out- 
come of the period of depression through which the 
Negroes had just passed. 

In 1850 the United States census reported 3498 adults 
who could neither read nor write, among the Negroes of 
the city. The adult population at that time must have 
been about 8000. There were 2176 children in school. 
In 1856 we have another set of detailed statistics : 



86 



Education and Illiteracy. [Chap. VIII. 



Schools. 



Average 
Attendance. 



Public schools 

Charity schools 

Benevolent and reformatory schools 
Private schools 



Total 




Children from 8 to 18 not in school 1,620. 

The schools by this time had increased in number. 
There, were the following public schools : 



Schools and Situations. 



Bird, Sixth above Lombard street, Boys' 
Department, Grammar School . . . 

Bird, Sixth above Lombard street, Girls' 
Department, Grammar School .... 

Bird, Sixth above Lombard street, Primary 
Department 

Robert Vaux, Coates street, unclassified . 

West Philadelphia, Oak street, unclassified 

Corn street, unclassified 

Frankford, unclassified 

Holmesburg, unclassified 

Banneker, Paschalville, unclassified . . . 



Total 



Number 


Enrol- 


Teachers. 


ment. 


4 


228 


4 


252 


3 


183 


2 


136 


2 


97 


1 


47 


1 


3i 


1 


25 


1 


32 


19 


1,031 



Average 
Attendance 



208 

293 

I50 
93 
78 
32 
25 
19 
15 



9 X 3 



The public schools seemed to have been largely manned 
by colored teachers, and were for a long time less efficient 
than the charity schools. The grammar schools at one time, 
about 1844, were about to be given up, but were saved, 
and in 1856 were doing fairly well. The charity schools 
were as follows : 



Schools. 


Teachers. 


Enrol- 
ment. 


Av. Attend- 
ance. 


Institute for Colored Youth, Lombard St. . 
Raspberry St. schools, Boys' Department 
Raspberry St. schools, Girls' Department 
Adelphi, Wager Street, Girls' Department 
Adelphi, Wager street, Infants' Department 

School for Destitute, Lombard street . . 
Infant School, South and Clifton streets . 

Orphans' Shelter School, Thirteenth street 
Home for Colored Children, Girard avenue 


2 
2 
2 
2 
2 
2 

3 

I 

3 
3 
2 
1 


31 
90 

79 

70 

95 

60 

100 

73 
150 
119 

73 
19 


26 
64 

53 
42 
61 
40 
75 
45 
85 
in 

73 
19 


Total 


25 


959 


694 



Sect. 19.] History of Negro Education. 87 

Of the above schools, the House of Refuge, Orphans' 
Shelter, House of Industry, and Home for Colored Children 
were schools connected with benevolent and reformatory 
institutions. The Raspberry school was that founded by 
Benezet. The Institute for Colored Youth was founded by 
Richard Humphreys, a West Indian ex-slaveholder, who 
lived in Philadelphia. On his death, in 1832, he bequeathed 
the sum of $10,000 to the Friends, to found an institution, 
" having for its object the benevolent design of instructing 
the descendants of the African race in school learning, in the 
various branches of the mechanic arts and trades, and in 
agriculture, in order to prepare, fit and qualify them to act 
as teachers." The Institute was acccordingly founded in 
1837, chartered in 1842, and upon receiving further gifts 
was temporarily located on Lombard street. In 1866 
additional sums were raised, and the Institute located on 
Bainbridge street, above Ninth, where it is still conducted. 

There were in 1856 the following private schools : 



Grade. 


Schools. 


Enrollment. 




I 

2 

IO 


30 

30 

271 


For grammar school work 






Total 


13 


331 



There were also two night schools, with an attendance 
of 150 or more. 

The percentage of illiteracy in the city was still large. 
Bacon's investigation showed that of 9021 adults over 
twenty years of age, 45 y 2 per cent were wholly illiterate, 
16 ]/ 2 per cent could read and write and 19 per cent could 
"read, write and cipher." Detailed statistics for each 
ward are given in the next table : 



88 Education and Illiteracy. [Chap. VIII. 

Illiteracy of Philadelphia Negroes, 1854-6. 



Ward. 



I 
2 

3 
4 
5 
6 

7 
8 

9 
10 
11 
12 
13 
14 
15 
16 

17 
18 

19 
20 
21 

22 

23 
24 



Total 





Of these 






Total 


there can 


Read 




Adults over 


Read, 


and 


Read. 


20 Years 


Write and 


Write. 




of Age. 


Cipher. 
25 






223 


23 


47 


349 


36 


54 


76 


275 


60 


48 


68 


1,427 


262 


199 


273 


1,818 


350 


285 


310 


151 


21 


25 


34 


1,867 


431 


337 


3ii 


969 


204 


192 


199 


76 


20 


16 


19 


208 


40 


39 


42 


37 


2 


11 


5 


234 


53 


35 


42 


69 


15 


12 


15 


233 


34 


46 


66 


157 


20 


26 


29 


82 


17 


12 


13 


70 


13 


8 


11 


4 


1 


1 





114 


6 


20 


18 


99 


22 


12 


15 


2 








1 


36 


7 


4 


7 


249 


30 


43 


48 


252 
9,001 


4i 


34 


37 


1,710 


1,482 


1,686 



Totally 
Illiterate. 



128 
183 

99 
693 
873 

7i 
788 

374 
21 

87 

19 

104 

27 

87 
82 
40 
38 
2 
70 

50 
1 

18 
128 
140 

4,123 



Separate schools for black and white were maintained 
from the beginning, barring the slight mixing in the early 
Quaker schools. Not only were the common schools sep- 
arate, but there were no public high schools for Negroes, 
professional schools were closed to them, and within the 
memory of living men the University of Pennsylvania not 
only refused to admit Negroes as students, but even as 
listeners in the lecture halls. 2 Not until 1881 was a law 
passed declaring it " unlawful for any school director, super- 
intendent or teacher to make any distinction whatever on 
account of, or by reason of, the race or color of any pupil 
or scholar who may be in attendance upon, or seeking 
admission to, any public or common school maintained 



2 Within a few years a Negro had to fight his way through a promi- 
nent dental college in the city. 



Sect. 20.] The Present Condition. 89 

wholly or in part under the school laws of this common- 
wealth." This enactment was for some time evaded, and 
even now some discrimination is practiced quietly in the 
matter of admission and transfers. There are also schools 
still attended solely by Negro pupils and taught by 
Negro teachers, although, of course, the children are at 
liberty to go elsewhere if they choose. They are kept 
largely through a feeling of loyalty to Negro teachers. 
In spite of the fact that several Negroes have been gradu- 
ated with high marks at the Normal School, and in at 
least one case " passed one of the best examinations for a 
supervising principal's certificate that has been accom- 
plished in Philadelphia by any teacher," 3 yet no Negro 
has been appointed to a permanent position outside the 
few colored schools. 

20. The Present Condition. — There were, in 1896, 
5930 Negro children in the public schools of the city, 
against 6150 in 1895 and 6262 in 1897. Confining our- 
selves simply to the Seventh Ward, we find the total popu- 
lation of legal school age — six to thirteen in Pennsylvania — 
was 862 in 1896, of whom 740, or 85.8 per cent, were 
reported as attending school at some time during the year. 
Of the persons five to twenty years of age about 48 per 
cent were in school. Statistics by age and sex are in the 
next table. 4 (See page 90.) 

Some difference is to be noted between the sexes : Of 
the children six to thirteen years of age, 85 per cent of the 
boys and nearly 86 per cent of the girls are in school ; of 
the youth fourteen to twenty, 20 per cent of the boys and 
21 per cent of the girls are in school. The boys stop 
school pretty suddenly at sixteen, the girls at seventeen. 



3 Philadelphia Ledger, August 13, 1897. 

4 The chief error in the school returns arises from irregularity in 
attendance. Those reported in school were there sometime during the 
year, and possibly off and on during the whole year, but many were not 
steady attendants. 



9 o 



Education and Illiteracy. [Chap. VIII. 



Nearly n per cent of the children in school were in 
attendance less than the full term ; 5 of these attending the 
whole term there is much irregularity through absences 
and tardiness. On the whole, therefore, the effective school 
attendance is less than appears at first sight. 



School Population and Attendance (1896-97) by 


Age. 


Negr 


oes of the Seventh Ward. 






Males. 


Females. 


Age. 


School 


School 


, School 


School 




Population. 


Attendance. 
5 


Population. 

66 


Attendance. 


Kindergarten f 4 years . 
age 15 years . 


67 


6 


46 


11 


5i 


19 


Total of Kindergarten age 


113 


16 


117 


25 




6 years . 


50 


28 


56 


35 




7 years . 


48 


40 


59 


45 


Pennsylva- 


8 years . 


53 


48 


67 


59 


nia legal 


9 years . 


54 


50 


5i 


5o 


school age. 


10 years . 

11 years . 


49 
39 


44 
33 


57 
58 


52 
55 




12 years . 


45 


39 


62 


56 




_ 13 years . 


53 


46 


61 


55 


Total of legal school age 


391 
45 


333 


471 


407 




14 years . 


35 


52 


36 


Youth 


15 years . 


39 


22 


52 


24 


above legal 


16 years . 


53 


24 


7i 


31 


school age, - 


17 years . 


50 


6 


87 


19 


and under 


18 years . 


55 


4 


80 


4 


voting age. 


19 years . 


56 


2 


9i 


1 




20 years . 


67 





122 


2 


Total youth . . 14-20 


365 


93 


555 


117 


Total children . 5-20 


802 


437 


1077 


543 


(Usual school age.) 











The question of illiteracy is a difficult one to have 
answered without actual tests, especially when the people 
questioned have some motives for appearing less ignorant 
than they actually are. The figures for the Seventh Ward, 
therefore, undoubtedly understate the illiteracy somewhat ; 
nevertheless the error is not probably large enough to 



5 Of 647 school children 62 were in school less than nine months — some 
less than three. Probably many more than this did not attend the full 
term. 



Sect. 20.] 



The Present Condition. 



9i 



deprive the figures of considerable value, and compared with 
statistics taken in a similar manner they are probably of 
average reliability. 6 Of 8464 Negroes in the Seventh 
Ward the returns show that 12.17 per cent are totally 
illiterate. Comparing this with previous years we have : 



1850 
1856 
1870 



44 per cent. 
22 



1890 18 per cent. 

1896 (7th Ward) 12.17 " 7 



The large number of young people in the Seventh Ward 
probably brings the average of illiteracy below the level 
of the whole city. Why this is so may be seen if we take 
the illiteracy of four age-classes : 



Age. 



Youth, 10 to 20 years of age 

Men and women, 21 to 30 years of age 
Men and women, 31 to 40 years of age 
Men and women, over 40 years of age 



Read and 




Write. 


Read.* 


94% 


1% 


90 


6 


77 


6 


61 


10 



Illiterate. 

4% 

4 

17 
29 



The same difference is plain if we take the returns of the 
census of 1 890 for the colored population of the whole city : 



Age. 



10 to 19 . 

20 to 34 . . 
35 to 44 . 
45 and over 



Total (including those of unknown age) 



Population over 10 



Per cent of total illiteracy 



Illiterate 
Males. 



138 

836 

1,098 

334 



2,450 



Males. 
I5,98l 



15% 



Illiterate 
Females. 



2l6 
1,096 
1,571 

775 



3,719 



Females. 
18,266 



21% 



Total 
Illiterates. 



354 

1,932 

2,669 

1,109 



6,169 



Colored 
Persons. 

34,247 



18% 



6 As has before been noted, the Negroes are less apt to deceive deliber- 
ately than some other peoples. The ability to read, however, is a point 
of pride with them, and especial pains was taken in the canvass to avoid 
error; often two or more questions on the point were asked. Nevertheless 
all depended in the main on voluntary answers. 

7 This looks small and yet it probably approximates the truth. My 
general impression from talking with several thousand Negroes in the 
Seventh Ward is that the percentage of total illiteracy is small among 
them. 



9 2 



Education and Illiteracy. [Chap. VIII. 



Separating those in the Seventh Ward by sex, we have 
this table, showing a total illiteracy of 10 per cent among 
the males and 17 per cent among the females : 

IlfUTERACY BY SEX AND BY AGE PERIODS. — SEVENTH WARD. 



Sex— Ages. 



Youth, 10 to 20 years . 

Post-bellum men, 
(born since 1865), 
21 to 30 years .... 

Men of war time 
(born between 1855 
and 1866), 31 to 40 
years 

Freedmen (born be- 
fore 1856), over 40 
years 

Of unknown age . . 



Total 



Males. 



v j 3 c 



550 
1,396 

978 



5H 
1,229 

784 



625 
12 



3,931 1 3,164 



S at 
O u 



45 



40 



63 

1 



159 



13 
61 



181 

3 



369 



13 
61 

43 

18 
104 



230 



Females. 



792 
1,492 

1,032 



1,101 
116 



4-533 



Read 

and 

Write. 


Xi 
at 
u 


S at 
O t-> 


730 


16 


38 


1,283 


55 


n6 


697 


84 


211 


558 


136 


381 


24 


2 


4 


3,292 


293 


750 



8 
38 

40 



26 

86 



198 



Granting that those reporting themselves as able to read 
should in most cases be included under the illiterate, and 
that therefore the rate of illiteracy in the Seventh Ward is 
about 18 per cent, and perhaps 20 per cent for the city, 
nevertheless the rate is, all things considered, low and 
places the Philadelphia Negroes in a position not much 
worse than that of the total population of Belgium (15.9 
per cent), so far as actual illiterates are concerned. 8 



8 The Seventh Special Report of the United States Commissioner of 
Labor enables us to make some comparison of the illiteracy of the foreign 
and Negro populations of the City: 



Nationalities. 



Italians, 1894 .... 
Russians, 1894 . . . 

Poles, 1894 

Hungarians, 1894 

Irish, 1894 

Negroes, 7th W., 1896 
Germans, 1894 . . . 



Persons able to 
Read and Write. 



1396 
1128 

838 
3i4 
54i 
6893 
45i 



36.37 p. c. 

58.08 " 

59-73 " 

69.16 " 

74.21 " 

81.44 " 

85.26 " 



Illiterates. 


2442 


63.63 p.c 


814 


41.92 "' 


565 


40.27 " 


140 


30.84 " 


188 


25-79 " 


1571 


18.56 " 


78 

1 


14.74 " 



Comparison of 
Illiteracy. 




The foreigners here reported include all those living in certain parts of 
the Third and Fourth Wards of Philadelphia. They are largely recent 
immigrants. The Russians and Poles are mostly Jews. — Isabel Ea.Ton. 



Sect. 20.] The Present Condition. 93 

The degree of education of those who can read and write 
can only be indicated in general terms. The majority 
have only a partial common school education from the 
country schools of the South or the primary grades of the 
city ; a considerable number have taken grammar school 
work ; a very few have entered the high schools and there 
have been from fifty to one hundred graduates from col- 
leges and professional schools since the war. Bxact figures 
as to the proportion of students taking higher courses are 
not easily obtained. 

In the Catto School, 1867-96, 11 per cent of those enter- 
ing the primary grade were promoted to the grammar 
school ; less than 1 per cent of those entering the primary 
grade of the Vaux School were promoted to the High 
School. Of those graduating from the course at the Insti- 
tute for Colored Youth, 8 per cent have taken a college or 
professional course. 9 Thus it appears that of 1000 colored 
children entering the primary grade no go to the gram- 
mar school, ten to the high school and one to college or 
to a professional school. The basis of induction here is, 
however, too small for many conclusions. 10 

At present there are in the Seventh Ward thirteen schools 
for children of all races and sixty-four teachers, with school 
property valued at $214,382. The schools are : one com- 
bined grammar and secondary, three secondary, one com- 
bined secondary and primary, four primary and four 
kindergartens. 

In the city the following are the public schools chiefly 
attended by Negroes : 



9 Data furnished by two principals of colored schools. At present 
(1897) there are 58 Negro students in the following schools: Central 
High, Girls' Normal, Girls' High, Central Manual Training and North 
East Manual Training; or about one per cent of the total school enroll- 
ment. 

10 Probably the percentage of children promoted from primary to 
grammar grades in this case is unusually small. 



94 



Education and Illiteracy. [Chap. VIII. 



>ys, 391 


jirls, 


all colored. 


' 89 


<( 


< < 


74 


(< 


<< 


' 150 


u 


<( 


47 


(< 


(( 


' 13 


(< 


f c 


1 253 


<( 


nearly all 
colored. 



Coulter street, Twenty-second Section . . 45 

J. B. Hill, Germantown 84 

Robert Vaux, Wood street 67 

O. V. Catto, Lombard street 140 

Wilmot, Meadow and Cherry streets . . 48 
James Miller, Forty-second and Ludlow sts. , 24 
J. S. Ramsey, Quince and Pine streets . . 243 



All the teachers are colored except those in the Ramsey 
and Miller schools, who are all white. There are a few 
colored kindergarten teachers in various sections, and large 
numbers of colored children go to other schools beside 
those designated. Many of the colored schools have a high 
reputation for efficient work. 11 There is, theoretically, 
no discrimination in night schools and some Negroes 
go to white schools ; for the most part, however, the 
Negroes are in the following night schools : 

Philadelphia Colored Night Schools, 1895. 



Name of School. 



t- a • 

2 d u 



O. V. Catto 

Vaux 

Park Avenue .... 

J. E. Hill 

West Philadelphia . 
Coulter street . . . 



Total night schools 
of city - white and 
colored 



60 
18 
35 
30 
50 
48 



2 d r 
"SoWJu 

6 ° 



175 
71 
95 

112 

94 



8957 2208 



v 

<u o 

bad 

> c 



69 

25 
5i 
40 

38 

47 



8352 



Z 8 

3£ 



ia 



64 
59 
62 
64 
49 

68 



d «-i 
d cj 

a"? 
d M 
Ph 



Id <w 
1 



en rt 
.*d *» 
P-P* 

d M 



ON 



17 

I 

14 

4 
3 
5 



47 
12 

34 
47 
14 



49 
23 
40 
40 
39 
24 



67 6172 11,963 2844 625 183 44 18 



P<>< 

I 

o 



32 
16 

3 

11 

32 
11 



09 

U 

•"d ^ 

£& 

I 



25 

9 

4 
6 
6 
o 



u 

a 

V) id 

rip* 
P- l. 



«! 
fcfi 

> 
< 



27 
28 
21 
24 

27 
20 



11 The following report from a member of the Committee on Schools of 
the City Councils is taken from the Philadelphia Ledger ; December 2, 
1896: On the matter of the needs of the colored population in connection 
with the schools, Mr. Meehan had to say: " Young women of the colored 
race are qualifying themselves for public school teachers by taking the 
regular course through our Normal School. No matter how well 
qualified they may be to teach, directors do not elect them to positions in 
the schools. It is taken for granted that only white teachers shall be 
placed in charge of white children. The colored Normal School grad- 
uates might be given a chance by appointments in the centre of some 
colored population, so that colored people might support their own 
teachers if so disposed, as they support their own ministers in their 



Sect. 20.] The Present Condition. 95 

The Institute for Colored Youth is still a popular and 
useful institution. It gives grammar and high school 
courses. In 1890, by the efforts of both white and colored 
friends, 12 an industrial department, with eleven teachers, 
was added. Among the men trained here are Octavius V. 
Catto, Jacob C. White, Jr., who was for thirty-five years 
principal of the Vaux School, two ex-ministers from the 
United States to Haiti, and the young colored physician 
who recently broke twenty-five years record in the excel- 
lence of his examination before the State Board. Under 
Mr. White, mentioned above, Mr. Henry Tanner, the artist 
recently honored by the French government, was graduated 
from the Vaux School. 

Considering this testimony as a whole, it seems certain 
that the Negro problem in Philadelphia is no longer, in the 
main, a problem of sheer ignorance ; to be sure, there is 
still a very large totally illiterate class of perhaps 6000 
persons over ten years of age ; then, too, the other 24,000 
are not in any sense of the word educated as a mass ; most 
of them can read and write fairly well, but few have a 
training beyond this. The leading classes among them are 
mostly grammar school graduates, and a college bred person 
is very exceptional. Thus the problem of education is 
still large and pressing ; and yet considering their ignorance 
in the light of history and present experience, it must be 
acknowledged that there are other social problems con- 
nected with this people more pressing than that of educa- 
tion ; that a fair degree of persistence in present methods 
will settle in time the question of ignorance, but other 
social questions are by no means so near solution. 

The only difficulties in the matter of education are care- 
lessness in school attendance, and poverty which keeps 

separate colored churches. The good result of this arrangement is 
shown by the experience in the Twenty-second Section, where there are 
two schools with seven colored teachers, ranking among the most 
popular in the section." 

12 Negroes in the city raised $2000 toward this. 



96 Education and Illiteracy. [Chap. VIII. 

children out of school. The former is a matter for the 
colored people to settle themselves, and is one to which 
their attention needs to be called. While much has been 
done, yet it cannot be said that Negroes have fully grasped 
their great school advantages in the city by keeping their 
younger children regularly in school, and from this remiss- 
ness much harm has sprung. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE OCCUPATIONS OF NEGROES. 

21. The Question of Earning a Living. — For a group 
of freedmen the question of economic survival is the most 
pressing of all questions ; the problem as to how, under 
the circumstances of modern life, any group of people can 
earn a decent living, so as to maintain their standard of 
life, is not always easy to answer. But when the question 
is complicated by the fact that the group has a low degree 
of efficiency on account of previous training ; is in com- 
petition with well-trained, eager and often ruthless com- 
petitors ; is more or less handicapped by a somewhat 
indefinite but existent and wide reaching discrimination ; 
and, finally, is seeking not merely to maintain a standard 
of living but steadily to raise it to a higher plane — such a 
situation presents baffling problems to the sociologist and 
philanthropist. 

And yet this is the situation of the Negro in Philadel- 
phia ; he is trying to better his condition ; is seeking to 
rise ; for this end his first need is work of a character to 
engage his best talents, and remunerative enough for him 
to support a home and train up his children well. The 
competition in a large city is fierce, and it is difficult for 
any poor people to succeed. The Negro, however, has two 
especial difficulties : his training as a slave and freedman 
has not been such as make the average of the race as 
efficient and reliable workmen as the average native Amer- 
ican or as many foreign immigrants. The Negro is, as a 
rule, willing, honest and good-natured ; but he is also, as 
a rule, careless, unreliable and unsteady. This is without 
doubt to be expected in a people who for generations have 
7 (97) 



98 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

been trained to shirk work ; but an historical excuse 
counts for little in the whirl and battle of bread-winning. 
Of course, there are large exceptions to this average rule ; 
there are many Negroes who are as bright, talented and 
reliable as any class of workmen, and who in untrammeled 
competition would soon rise high in the economic scale, 
and thus by the law of the survival of the fittest we should 
soon have left at the bottom those inefficient and lazy 
drones who did not deserve a better fate. However, in the 
realm of social phenomena the law of survival is greatly 
modified by human choice, wish, whim and prejudice. 
And consequently one never knows when one sees a social 
outcast how far this failure to survive is due to the defi- 
ciencies of the individual, and how far to the accidents or 
injustice of his environment. This is especially the case 
with the Negro. Every one knows that in a city like 
Philadelphia a Negro does not have the same chance to 
exercise his ability or secure work according to his talents 
as a white man. Just how far this is so we shall discuss 
later ; now it is sufficient to ' say in general that the sorts 
of work open to Negroes are not only restricted by their 
own lack of training but also by discrimination against 
them on account of their race ; that their economic rise is 
not only hindered by their present poverty, but also by a 
widespread inclination to shut against them many doors of 
advancement open to the talented and efficient of other 
races. 

What has thus far been the result of this complicated 
situation ? What do the mass of the Negroes of the city 
at present do for a living, and how successful are they in 
those lines ? And in so far as they are successful, what 
have they accomplished, and where they are inefficient in 
their present sphere of work, what is the cause and rem- 
edy ? These are the questions before us, and we proceed 
to answer the first in this chapter, taking the occupations 
of the Negroes of the Seventh Ward first, then of the city 



Sect. 22.] Occupations in the Seventh Ward. 99 

in a general way, and finally saying a word as to the 
past. 

22. Occupations in the Seventh Ward. — Of the 257 
boys between the ages of ten and twenty, who were regu- 
larly at work in 1896, 39 per cent were porters and errand 
boys ; 25.5 per cent were servants ; 16 per cent were common 
laborers, and 19 per cent had miscellaneous employment. 
The occupations in detail are as follows : l 

Total population, males 10 to 20 . . . .651 
Engaged in gainful occupations .... 257 

Porters and errand boys 100 39.0 per cent. 

Servants 66 25.5 M 

Common laborers 40 16.0 " 

Teamsters 7 

Apprentices 6 

Bootblacks 6 

Drivers 5 

Newsboys 5 

Peddlers . 4 

Typesetters 3 

Actors 2 

Bricklayers 2 

Hostlers 2 

Typewriters 2 

Barber, bartender, bookbinder, factory 
hand, rubber-worker, sailor, shoe- 
maker — one each 7 

— 5i 19.5 

257 100 per cent. 

1 The returns as to occupations are on the whole reliable. There was 
in the first place little room for deception, since the occupations of 
Negroes are so limited that a false or indefinite answer was easily 
revealed by a little judicious probing; moreover there was little disposi- 
tion to deceive, for the Negroes are very anxious to have their limited 
opportunities for employment known; thus the motives of pride and 
complaint balanced each other fairly well. Some error of course 
remains: the number of servants and day-workers is slightly under- 
stated; the number of caterers and men with trades is somewhat 
exaggerated by the answers of men with two occupations: e. g. , a waiter 
with a small side business of catering returns himself as caterer; a 
carpenter who gets little work and makes his living largely as a laborer 
is sometimes returned as a carpenter, etc. In the main the errors are 
small and of little consequence. 



ioo The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

Of the men twenty-one years of age and over, there were 
in gainful occupations, the following : 

In the learned professions ...... 61 2.0 per cent. 

Conducting business on their own ac- 
count 207 6.5 " 

In the skilled trades 236 7.0 " 

Clerks, etc , 159 5-o 

Laborers, better class 602 

Laborers, common class 852 

1454 , 45.0 

Servants 1079 34«° " 

Miscellaneous 11 .5 " 

3207 100 per cent. 

Total male population, 21 and over 3850. 2 



2 A more detailed list of the occupations of male Negroes, twenty-one 
years of age and over, living in the Seventh Ward in 1896, is as follows: 



Entrepreneurs. 



Caterers 65 

Hucksters 37 

Proprietors Hotels and Restau- 
rants 22 

Merchants: Fuel and Notions 22 
Proprietors of Barber Shops . . 15 
Expressmen owning outfit . . 14 
Merchants, Cigar Stores ... 7 
Merchants, Grocery Stores . . 4 
Proprietors of Undertaking Es- 
tablishments 2 



Employment Agents . . 
Lodging House Keepers . 
Proprietors of Pool Rooms 
Real Estate Agencies . . . 

Job Printers 

Builder and Contractor . . 

Sub-landlord 

Milk Dealer 

Publisher 



In Learned Professions. 



Clergymen 22 Dentists . 

Students 17 Editors . 

Teachers 7 

Physicians 6 

Lawyers 5 

In the Skilled Trades. 



Barbers 64 

Cigar Makers 39 

Shoemakers 18 

Stationary Engineers 13 

Brickla3 7 ers 11 

Printers 10 



Apprentice 
Boilermaker . 
Blacksmith . 
China Repairer 
Cooper . . . 
Cabinetmaker 



3 
3 
3 
3 

3 

i 

1 
1 

1 

207 

3 

1 

61 



Sect. 22.] Occupations in the Seventh Ward. 



101 



This shows that three-fourths of the male Negroes ten 
years of age and over in gainful occupations are laborers 
and servants, while the remaining fourth is equally divided 
into three parts : one to the trades, one to small business 



Painters 10 

Upholsterers 7 

Carpenters 6 

Bakers 4 

Tailors 4 

Undertakers 4 

Brickmakers 3 

Framemakers 3 

Plasterers 3 

Rubber Workers 3 

Stone Cutters 3 

Bookbinders 2 

Candy Makers 2 

Chiropodists 2 

Ice Carvers 2 

Photographers 2 

Clerks, Semi-Professional 

Messengers 33 

Stewards 31 

Musicians 20 

Clerks 18 

Agents 15 

Clerks in Public Service ... 8 

Managers and Foremen .... 6 

Actors • 6 

Bartenders 5 

Servants. 

Domestics 582 Nurses 

Hotel Help 457 

Public Waiters 38 

Laborers {Select Class). 







Gold Beater . ... 


1 


Kalsominer 


1 










Florist ..... , . . , 


. . 1 


Pilot 





236 

and Responsible Workers. 

Policemen 5 

Sextons ..... 4 

Shipping Clerks 3 

Dancing Masters 3 

Inspector in Factory . . . . 1 

Cashier 1 

159 



1079 



Stevedores 164 

Teamsters 134 

Janitors 94 

Hod Carriers 79 

Hostlers 44 

Elevator Men 22 

Sailors 21 



China Packers 14 

Watchmen 14 

Drivers 12 

Oyster Openers 4 

602 



102 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX- 

enterprises, and one to professional men, clerks and miscel- 
laneous employments. 

Turning now to the females, ten to twenty years of age, 
we have : 

Housewives 38 4.5 per cent. 

At work 3 289 36.5 " 

At school 333 42.0 " 

At home, unoccupied, etc 133 17.0 " 

Total female population 10-20 . . . 793 100 per cent. 

Of the 289 at work there were : 

In domestic service 211 73.0 per cent. 

Doing day's work 32 11. o " 

Dressmakers and seamstresses 16 5.5 " 

Servants in public places 12 4.3 " 

Apprentices 6 

Musicians 4 

Teachers 3 

Clerks 2 

Actresses 2 

Hairdressers 1 

— 18 6.2 

289 100 per cent. 

Taking the occupations of women twenty-one years of 
age and over, we have : 

Domestic servants 1262 37.0 per cent. 

Housewives and day laborers .... 937 27.0 " 

Housewives 568 17.0 " 

Day laborers, maids, etc 297 9.0 " 

Laborers [Ordinary). 

Common Laborers 493 Casual Laborers 12 

Porters 274 Miscellaneous Laborers .... 4 

Laborers for City 47 

Bootblacks 22 852 

Miscellaneous. 

Rag Pickers 6 Prize Fighter 1 

"Politicians" 2 — 

Root Doctors 2 11 

3 This includes 12 housewives who also work. 



Sect. 22.] Occupations in the Seventh Ward. 103 

In skilled trades , . . . 221 6.0 per cent. 

Conducting businesses 63 2.0 M 

Clerks, etc 40 1.0 " 

L,earned professions 37 1.0 " 

3425 100 per cent. 
Total female population 21 and over 3740. 4 

Leaving out housewives who do no outside work and 
scheduling all women over twenty-one who have gainful 
occupations, we have : 



* A more detailed list of the occupations of female Negroes, twenty one 
years of age and over, living in the Seventh Ward in 1896, is as follows : 

Entrepreneurs. 

Caterers 18 Undertakers 3 

Restaurant Keepers 17 Child-Nursery Keepers .... 3 

Merchants 17 — 

Employment Agents 5 63 

Learned Professions. 

Teachers 22 Students 7 

Trained Nurses 8 — 

37 
Skilled Trades. 

Dressmakers 204 Manicure 1 

Hairdressers 6 Barber 1 

Milliners 3 Typesetter 1 

Shrouders of Dead 4 

Apprentice 1 221 

Clerks, Semi- Professional and Responsible Workers. 

Musicians 12 Matrons 2 

Clerks 10 Actress 1 

Stewardesses 4 Missionary 1 

Housekeepers 4 — 

Agents 3 40 

Stenographers 3 

Laborers, etc. 

Housewives and Day Workers . 937 Janitresses 22 

Day Workers 128 Factory Employe 1 

Public Cooks 72 Office Maids 12 

Seamstresses 48 

Waitresses in Restaurants, etc. 14 1234 

Servants. 

Domestic Servants 1262 



104 



The Ocatpations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 



Professions 37 

Working on own account 63 

In trades 221 

Clerks and agents, etc 40 

Day workers, janitresses, seamstresses, cooks, etc 1234 

Servants 1262 



2857 



The following tables gather up all these statistics and 
give full returns with distinctions of age and sex : 



Occupations— Females, Ten Years of Age and Over. Seventh Ward, 1896. 































to* 




Total. 




to 


to 


to 


to 


to ' 


to 


w 


to 


to 


to 


to 


to 
u 


to 

u 




a 

ft 








u 

>** 


Occupations. 


u 

ctf 


u 


u 


In 








1- 


u 


u 


u 


£ 


S* 





^ 


u 

rt 


a 




V 


<u 


<u 


V 


<u 


V 


V 


V 


<u 


V 


V 








P 

1 









>* 


CO 




1* 
10 




> 

f^ 


> 
00 


>< 

I 




ts 
2 


CO 
1 

n 
01 

5 


1 

CO 

I 


> 
O 





335 


M cS 
0» 


At school 


52 

5 



55 
3 



56 
5 



55 
3 



36 
9 



24 
t6 


31 


19 
23 

3 


4 

22 


7 


At home 


13 
II 


8 








Housewives 





I 


4 


19 


246 


128 


187 


7 


38 


568 


Housewives and days' 





















































I 


O 


I 


1 


4 


5 


255 


329 


344 


9 


12 


937 


Days' workers 








1 











I 


3 


6 


5 


4 


54 


24 


46 


4 


20 


128 


Domestic service 











3 


7 


11 


22 


28 


33 


43 


64 


661 


347 


240 


14 


211 


1262 


Apprentice to trade . . . 























4 


1 





1 





1 








6 


1 


Tanitresses 




















O 








1 





7 


7 


8 





1 


22 


Public waitresses . . . 























1 


1 


2 


1 


12 


1 





1 


5 


14 


Office and public maids . 




















O 





I 





1 


3 


,s 


4 





2 


12 


Public cooks 




















O 





2 


1 


I 


17 


28 


27 





4 


72 


Musicians 




















O 


2 





2 





5 


6 


1 





4 


12 


Hairdressers 




















O 





.0 





1 





I 


S 





1 


6 


Seamstresses 




















O 








1 


5 


23 


12 


13 





6 


48 


Dressmakers 




















O 





4 


3 


3 


78 


68 


57 


1 


10 


204 


Actress 




















O 


1 








1 


1 











2 


1 


Teachers 




















O 








1 


2 


12 


6 


4 





S 


22 


Clerks 




















O 








1 


1 


6 


4 








2 


10 


Restaurant-keepers . 




















O 














5 


8 


4 








17 


Milliners 



































I 


1 


1 








3 


Nursery keepers 






































I 


2 








3 





































3 





4 


1 





8 


Agents (beneficial soc.) . 



































3 














3 


Cateresses 



































2 


8 


8 








18 


Shrouders of dead . . . 









































4 





» 


4 


Stenographers 



































I 


2 











3 


Factory employee .... 



































1 














1 


Matron (of Home) .... 






































I 


1 








2 


Manicure 
















































1 

1 



1 














1 


Merchants— Cigar store . 


2 


Groceries . . 






































2 


2 








4 


Notions, etc. 






































3 


4 








7 


Fuel .... 






































1 


2 








3 


Hardware . . 









































1 








1 


Barber 



















































I 
1 



2 










1 


Undertakers 


3 








































2 


2 








4 


Missionary 






































1 











1 


Prop. Employment Ag. 






































3 


2 








5 


Typesetters • 






































1 





1 





2 


Housekeepers 






































2 


1 








3 


Prostitutes 























2 


1 


2 


3 


5i 


26 


11 


12 


8 


100 



Sect. 22.] Occupations in the Seventh Ward. 



105 



Occupations— Males, Ten to Twenty-one Years oe Age. 
Seventh Ward, 1896. 



Occupations. 



Total boys at given age 

Total in school 

Total at home 

Actors 

Apprentices to trades . 

Barber 

Bartender 

Bookbinder 

Bootblacks 

Bricklayer 

Drivers for Doctors . . 

Erraud-boys 

Factory laborer ... 

Hostlers 

Laborers 

Newsboys 

Peddlers 

Printers 

Porters 

Rubber worker . . . . 

Sailor 

Service (domestic) . . . 
Service (public) . . . . 

Shoemakers 

Teamsters 

Typewriters 



CO 

u 

a 

V 


u 

a 


en 

u 

a 

V 


u 
a 

> 


tft 
u 
d 
<u 


tft 

u 
« 

> 


tn 

u 

> 


t/; 
U 

V 

>< 


tft 

u 

a 


tn 
u 

m 


as 
u 

£0 





H 


<N 


ro 


Tj- 


in 


^D 


r-^ 


00 
55 


o\ 




<N 


49 


39 


45 


53 


45 


39 


53 


50 


56 


67 


44 


3« 


39 


40 


35 


22 


24 


6 


4 


2 


O 


5 


1 


1 


2 


5 


4 


11 


3 





2 


O 


























1 


O 


I 























1 


3 


I 


I 





























I 
































I 


























1 





O 




















1 


1 


2 


I 


I 
































2 


























1 





3 


I 


e 





2 


2 


4 


5 


6 


6 


5 


1 


2 





























1 


O 























1 





1 


O 











1 








1 


3 


12 


12 


II 








1 








1 


2 








1 


O 




















1 





1 


1 


I 


























1 


1 


I 








1 





1 


4 


5 


10 


15 


11 


20 





























1 


O 























1 








O 








1 


2 








1 


11 


7 


7 


18 

















1 


1 


1 


3 


5 


8 
































1 

















1 





2 


2 





2 




















n 


1 





1 






463 

178 

28 

2 



I 

I 

6 

2 

5 

33 

1 
2 

40 
5 
4 
3 

67 
1 
1 

47 

19 
1 

7 
2 



Occupations — Males, Twenty-one Years and Over. 
Seventh Ward, 1896. 



Occupations. 



Actors 

Agents (ins. societies and drummers) 

Apprentice to trade 

Barbers 

Bartenders 

Bellmen 

Bookbinders 

Bootblacks 

Bricklayers 

Brickmakers 

Builder and contractor 

Bakers 

Boiler-maker 

Blacksmith and wheelwright . . . . 

Chiropodists 

China repairer 

Compounder of liquors 

Cooper 

Carpenter (ship) 

Carpenters . 

Cashier 



21-30 
Years. 



4 
6 
1 
28 
2 

32 

1 

15 



31-40 41 and 
Years. over. 



2 

3 

21 

3 
10 

1 
6 

7 



6 
15 



Unk. 
Age. 



Total. 



6 

15 

I 

64 
5 

43 
2 

22 

11 

3 

1 

4 
1 
1 
2 
1 
1 
1 
1 

5 

1 



io6 



The Ocmpations of Negroes. [Chap. IX, 



Occupations— Continued. 



Occupations. 



Cabinet-maker 

Candy-makers 

Caterers 

Chemist 

Cigar-makers 

Clerks 

Clerks (in public service) 

Clerks (shipping) 

Conductor (railroad)* 

Dairymen 

Dancing-masters 

Drivers (for doctor) 

Dyer 

Errand boys 

Engineers (stationary) 

Elevator men 

Editor 

Florist 

Frame-makers 

Furniture polisher 

Gold beater 

Gamblers ... 

Hucksters 

Hostlers 

Hod carriers 

Inspector of furniture 

Ice carvers 

Janitors 

Kalsominer 

Lodging-house keepers 

Landlord 

Locksmith 

Laborers (casual) 

( soap factory) 

(furnace-setters) .... 

(on buildings) 

(brickyard) 

(on streets) 

(general) 

(farm) 

(water works and gas, etc.) 

Laundrymen 

Managers and foremen ...... 

Messengers 

Musicians 

Manufacturers 

Nurses 

Oyster openers 

Packers (china) 

Painters 

Paper-hanger 

Porters 



21-30 
Years. 



I 

I 

II 

I 

17 

7 
3 
1 



1 
10 



16 

1 



4 
12 
21 
27 



1 
29 



1 

2 

2 

3 

19 

33 

149 

2 

9 
o 

3 

9 

10 



1 
2 

5 

3 

3 

135 



31-40 
Years. 



I 
18 

17 
4 
1 
2 
1 
2 
2 
1 



3 
15 
12 

23 

1 

1 

20 



4 
7 

10 

120 

1 

9 

1 

2 

10 

7 



1 
2 
4 
4 

77 



41 and 
over. 



36 

4 
7 
4 



1 

1 

10 

11 

29 



45 
1 

3 
1 



7 

4 

120 

' 28 

1 

1 

12 

3 

1 



5 

3 

60 



Unk. 
Age. 



Total. 



I 
2 

65 

I 

39 

18 

8 

3 
1 
2 

3 

12 

1 

2 

13 
22 

1 

1 

3 

1 

1 

16 

37 

44 

79 

1 
2 

94 
1 

3 
1 
1 

12 
2 
2 
7 

32 

37 
410 

3 

47 

2 

6 

33 

20 

1 

2 

4 

14 

10 

23 

74 



* Intermarried white man. 



Sect. 22.] Occupations in the Seventh Ward, 



107 



Occupations — Continued . 



Occupations. 



Politicians 

Photographers 

Plasterers 

Printers 

Proprietors — Hotels and restaurants . 

Express business . . . 

Printing office ..... 

Cigar store 

Milk-dealing 

Store, notions and fuel, 

Grocery 

Employment agency . . 

Barber shop 

Newspaper 

Pool-room 

Professions — Teachers 

Lawyers 

Clergymen 

Physicians 

Dentists 

Policemen 

Pilot • 

Prize fighter 

Rubber workers 

Roofer 

Rag pickers 

Real estate agents 

Root doctors 

Service — Domestic 

Hotel and restaurants, etc. . 
Public waiters (with caterers) 

Stewards 

Students 

Sailors 

Sextons 

Shoemakers 

Stevedores 

Stone-cutters 

Tinsmith 

Trainer (horses) 

Tailors 

Teamsters 

Upholsterers 

Undertakers 

Watchmen 

Wicker- worker 



21-30 
Years. 



I 

288 
205 

9 

8 

13 

14 

1 

4 
64 



1 

63 
2 

4 
1 



31-40 
Years. 



161 

126 

15 

14 

4 
3 
1 
1 
60 
1 
1 
1 

3 
38 

1 
1 

4 

1 



41 and 
over. 



2 
IO 

7 



10 
2 

1 
10 

1 

3 

1 

10 

3 
2 



4 

2 

1 

123 

72 

13 

9 

3 
2 

13 
40 

1 



32 
4 
1 

9 



Unk 
Age 



IO 
II 

I 



Total. 



2 
2 

3 

9 

22 

14 

4 
7 
1 

22 
4 
3 

15 
1 

3 
7 
5 

22 
6 
3 
5 
1 
1 

3 

1 

6 

3 
2 

582 

414 

38 

3i 

17 
21 

\ 

18 

164 

3 
1 
1 
4 
134 
7 
6 

14 

1 



L,et us now glance at the occupations as a whole : of the 
9675 Negroes in the Seventh Ward, 12 12 are children nine 
years of age or less. Of the remaining 8463 there are : 



108 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

At work 6,610 

In school 609 

Housewives 568 

Known criminals 116 

Unoccupied, at home, defective, unknown, etc 560 

8,463 



The 6610 at work are distributed as follows: 

Professions 101 

Working on own account 268 

In trades 492 

Clerks, semi-professional and responsible workers .... 216 

Laborers (select) 778 

Laborers (ordinary) 2,111 

Servants 2,644 

6,610 



We can grasp the true meaning of these figures only by 
comparing the distribution of occupations among the 
Negroes with that of the total population of the city ; for 
this purpose we must redistribute the occupations accord- 
ing to the simpler, but in many respects unsatisfactory, 
divisions of the United States census. We then have : 





Whole Population 
of Philadelphia, 

1890. 


Negroes of 

Seventh Ward, 

1896. 




Number. 


Per 

Cent. 


Number. 


Per 
Cent. 


Number in gainful occupations . . . 
Per cent in gainful occupations . . . 


847,283 
466,791 
55-1 


• • 


8,463 

6,6ir 
78 


• • 


Engaged in professional service . . . 

Engaged in domestic and personal 

service 


6,497 
19,438 

106,129 
115,462 

219,265 


i-5 

4.2 

22.7 
24.7 

46.9 


11 
130* 

4,889 
1,006 

54i 


.2 

2.0 

74-3 
' 15.3 

8.2 


Engaged in trade and transportation 
Engaged in manufacturing and me- 
chanical industries 



♦Omitting 24 students 21 years of age and over. 



Sect. 22.] Occupations in the Seventh Ward. 
Illustrated graphically, this is : 

A 



WHOLE POPULATION 
OF PHILA. 



NEGROES 
OF 7TH.WARD 



DOMESTIC 



TRADE & TRAM 



MANUFACTURING &MECHAM 



109 




Comparing the whole population with the Negroes of 
the Seventh Ward by sex, we have : 





'TOTAL MALES MALE NEGROES 




1.9 


OF ALL COLORS. 7T? WARD 
AGRICULTURE 5fC. 


0.3% 


3.9 




PROFESSIONS 




2.5% 


17.3 






DOMESTI 


p SPERS0NAL5ERV.1CE 




61.5% 


29.5 




TRADE ^ 


TRANSPORT 


<vtion' 




28% 


47.4 


r 


MANUFACTURING 


Bmechank 


)AL INDUSTRIES 


7.7° 




TOTAL FEMALES 


FEMALE NEGROES' 




.1 


OF ALL GOLORS. 


7™ WARD 
A 


0.0% 


4.8 






IP 


1.4% 


37.9 


DOMESTIC 


& PERSON AL SERVICE 


88:5% 


114 


TRA 


DE % 


[transportation 
Smechanical industries 


1.3% 


45B 




MANUFACTURING 


8.8% 



In these statistics and tables we have first to notice the 
large proportion of these people who work for a living ; 
taking the population ten years of age and over, and we 
have 78 per cent for the Negroes of the Seventh Ward, 
and 55.1 per cent for the whole city, white and colored. 
This is an indication of an absence of accumulated wealth, 



no 



The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 



arising from poverty and low wages; the general causes of 
poverty are largely historical and well known ; to appre- 
ciate the cause of low wages, we have only to see the 
few occupations to which the Negroes are practically 
limited, and imagine the competition that must ensue. 
This is true among the men, and especially true among 
the women, where the limitation is greatest. All the 
forces that are impelling white women to become bread- 
winners, are emphasized in the case of Negro women : their 
chances of marriage are decreased by the low wages of the 
men and the large excess of their own sex in the great 
cities ; they must work, and if there are few chances open 
they must suffer from competition in wages. Among the 
men low wages means either enforced celibacy or irregular 
and often dissipated lives, or homes where the wife and 
mother must also be a bread-winner. Statistics curiously 
illustrate this ; 16.3 per cent of the native white women 



The Working Population of Philadelphia, 1890. 



Color, etc. 


Number, Ten Years of Age and 
over, in Gainful Occupations. 


Per Cent of Total Popu- 
lation in Gainful 
Occupations. 




Male. 


Female. 


Total. 


Male. 


Female 


Total. 


Whites. 
(Native, with native 

(Native, with foreign 

Colored (Negro and 
Chinese, etc.) . . 


122,332 
91,280 
13,650 

344,143 


34,731 

39,6l8 

9,258 


157,063 

130,898 

22,908 


65 

58 
72 


16 

24 

43 


38 
40 

57 


Total Population . 


122,648 


466,791 









of native parents and of all ages, in Philadelphia are bread- 
winners ; 5 their occupations are restricted, and there is 
great competition ; yet among Negro women, where the 



5 A better comparison here would be made by finding the percentages 
of the population above 10 years of age ; statistics unfortunately are not 
available for this. 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 11 1 

restriction in occupation reaches its greatest limit, never- 
theless 43 per cent are bread-winners, and their wages are 
at the lowest point in all cases save in some lines of domes- 
tic service where custom holds them at certain figures; 
even here, however, the tendency is downward. 

The causes of this peculiar restriction in employment of 
Negroes are twofold : first, the lack of training and 
experience among Negroes ; second, the prejudice of the 
whites. The first is to be expected in some degree, although 
undoubtedly carelessness and culpable inefficiency have 
played their part. The' second cause will be discussed at 
length, later. One point, however, needs mention : the 
peculiar distribution of employments among whites and 
Negroes makes the great middle class of white people 
seldom, if ever, brought into contact with Negroes — may 
not this be a cause as well as an effect of prejudice ? 

Another noticeable fact is the absence of child-labor ; 
this is not voluntary on the part of the Negroes, but due to 
restricted opportunity ; there is really very little that Negro 
children may do. Their chief employment, therefore, is 
found in helping about the house while the mother is at 
work. Thus those children scheduled as at home repre- 
sent child-labor in many cases. 

23. Occupations in the City. — Turning from the more 
detailed study of the Seventh Ward, let us glance in a 
general way over the occupations of Negroes in the city at 
large. 

The Professions. — The learned professions are represented 
among Negroes by clergymen, teachers, physicians, lawyers 
and dentists, in the order named. Practically all Negroes 
go to their own churches, where they have, save in a very 
few cases, clergymen of their own race. There are not less 
than sixty Negro ministers in the city (possibly a hundred) 
mostly Methodists and Baptists, with three or four Presby- 
terians and two Episcopalians. The Presbyterian and 
Episcopalian clergymen are well trained and educated men 



ii2 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

in nearly every case. The ministers of the African Metho- 
dists vary ; those in charge of the larger churches are all men 
of striking personality, with genius for leadership and 
organization in some lines, and in some cases, though not 
in all, they are well-educated men. Practically none of 
them are illiterate. The Baptist ministers are not on the 
whole so well trained as the Methodists, although some 
are well-educated. 

Taken on the average the Negro ministers of the city are 
good representatives of the masses of the Negroes. They 
are largely chosen by the jnasses, must cater to their 
tastes, and must in every way be men whom the rank and 
file of the race like and understand. Sometimes a strong 
personality, like the late Theodore Miller, will take a 
church and lift it to a high level ; usually the minister 
rather follows than leads, and indicates public opinion 
among his people rather than forms it. The Baptist min- 
ister is the elected chairman of a pure democracy, who, if 
he can command a large enough following, becomes a 
virtual dictator ; he thus has the chance to be a wise leader 
or a demagogue, or, as in many cases, a little of both. The 
Methodist minister is the appointed steward of a large cor- 
poration, of which his particular church is a small part. 
His success depends upon the way in which he conducts 
this church : his financial success, his efforts to increase 
church membership and his personal popularity. The 
result is that the colored Methodist minister is generally a 
wide-awake business man, with something of the politician 
in his make-up, who is sometimes an inspiring and valuable 
leader of men; in other cases he may develop into a loud 
but wily talker, who induces the mass of Negroes to put 
into fine church edifices money which ought to go to charity 
or business enterprise. 

Ministers receive from $250 a year, in small missions, to 
$1500 in three or four of the largest churches. The aver- 
age would be between $600 and $1000. 



Sect. 23.] 



Occupations in the City. 



JI 3 



Next to the clergymen come the teachers, of whom there 
are about forty in the city : 



School. 



Institute for Colored Youth 

O. V. Catto 

Vaux 

J. E. Hill 

Coulter street 

Wilmot 

House of Industry .... 

James Forten 

Berean Church 



Total 



Princi- 


Assistant 


Kinder- 


pals. 


Teachers 


gartuers. 


2 


7 


O 


I 


6 


2 


I 


3 


O 


I 


3 


I 


I 


1 


O 


I 


1 


O 


O 


4 


O 


O 





2 


O 





I 


7 


25 


6 



Indus'l 
teachers. 



These teachers are in nearly every case well equipped 
and have made good records. Save in the kindergartens, 
or in one or more temporary cases, they teach Negro chil- 
dren exclusively. The public school teachers receive the 
same pay as the white teachers. 6 

The Negro physician is to-day just beginning to reap the 
reward of a long series of attempts and failures. At first 
thought it would seem natural for Negroes to patronize 
Negro merchants, lawyers and physicians, from a sense of 
pride and as a protest against race feeling among whites. 
When, however, we come to think further, we can see 
many hindrances. If a child is sick, the father wants a 
good physician ; he knows plenty of good white physicians ; 
he knows nothing of the skill of the black doctor, for the 
black doctor has had no opportunity to exercise his skill. 
Consequently for many years the colored physician had 
to sit idly by and see the 40,000 Negroes healed principally 
by white practitioners. To-day this has largely changed, 
and principally through the efforts of the younger class of 
doctors, who have spared no pains to equip themselves at 
the best schools of the country. The result is that fully 
half the Negroes employ Negro physicians, and to a small 
extent these physicians practice among the whites. There 



6 This has been the case only in comparatively recent times. 
8 



H4 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

are still many of the old class of root doctors and patent 
medicine quacks with a lucrative trade among Negroes. 7 
Of reputable Negro physicians there are in the city about 
fifteen, graduated as follows : 

University of Pennsylvania 5 

Hahnemann (Homeopathic) 2 

Women's Medical 2 

Medico-Chirurgical .1 

Harvard 1 

University of Michigan 1 

Howard 2 

Seven of these have good-sized practice, running from 
$1500 a year to $3000 or more. Five others have practi- 
cally just commenced to get practice and are doing fairly 
well. The other two have outside work and have a limited 
practice. There are many medical students in the city, and 
this field is the most attractive open to the Negro among 
the learned professions. 

In contrast to the fair success of the Negro in medicine 
is his partial failure in law. There are at present about ten 
practicing Negro lawyers in the city, graduated as follows : 

Howard 3 

University of Pennsylvania 4 

Unknown 3 

Two of these are fairly successful practitioners — well 
versed in law, with some experience, and a small but steady 
practice. Three others are with difficulty earning a living 
at criminal practice in police cases ; and the rest are 
having little or no practice. This failure of most Negro 
lawyers is not in all cases due to lack of ability and push 
on their part. Its principal cause is that the Negroes furnish 
little lucrative law business, and a Negro lawyer will seldom 
be employed by whites. Moreover, while the work of a 
physician is largely private, depending on individual skill, 

7 Negroes also buy immense quantities of patent medicines, etc. 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 115 

a lawyer must have co-operation from fellow lawyers and 
respect and influence in court ; thus prejudice or discrimi- 
nation of any kind is especially felt in this profession. For 
these reasons Negro lawyers are for the most part confined 
to petty criminal practice and seldom get a chance to show 
their ability. 

There are three Negro dentists, two being graduated 
from first-class institutions and enjoying good practice. 

On the whole, the professional class of Negroes is cred- 
itable to the race. The teachers and physicians would bear 
comparison with any race ; the ranks of the clergy are 
overcrowded and they present all degrees, from excellent 
and well-trained spiritual guides to blatant demagogues ; 
the lawyers have little chance to show themselves. 

The Entrepreneur — The number of individual under- 
takers of business enterprise among Negroes is small but 
growing. Let us first take the Seventh Ward alone and 
glance over the field. There are in this ward twenty-three 
establishments for meals and other entertainment, varying 
from a small one-room restaurant to a twenty-room hotel ; 
some of these on Lombard and South streets have capacious 
dining-rooms with twenty or more tables ; some are little 
dark places with two or three dubious looking stands. In 
length of establishment they vary : eight had in 1896 been 
running a year or less ; four, two years ; two, three years ; 
four, from four to eight years. They represent investments 
varying from $40 to $1500, and employ beside the pro- 
prietors between fifty and one hundred persons according 
to the season. 

There are in the Seventh Ward twenty-three barber- 
shops varying from two months to forty years in length of 
establishment ; eight are from three to five years old, five 
over ten years old. They employ beside the proprietors 
from twenty to forty journeymen more or less regularly. 
A shop represents an investment varying from $50 to $250 
or more. The Negro as a barber is rapidly losing ground 



n6 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

in the city. It is difficult to say why this has occurred, but 
there are several contributory reasons : first the calling was 
for so long an almost exclusively Negro calling that it 
came in for a degree of the contempt and ridicule poured 
on Negroes in general ; it therefore grew very unpopular 
among Negroes, and apprentices became very scarce. To- 
day one would have to look a long time among young and 
aspiring Negroes to find one who would willingly become 
a barber — it smacks perhaps a little too much of domestic 
service, and is a thing to fall back upon but not to aspire 
to. In the second place the business became unpopular 
with Negroes because it compels them to draw a color line. 
No first-class Negro barber would dare shave his own 
brother in his shop in Philadelphia on account of the color 
prejudice. This is peculiarly galling and has led to much 
criticism and unpopularity for certain leading barbers 
among their own people. These two reasons led to a lack 
of interest and enterprise in the business for a long time 
and it needed but one movement to hasten the collapse, 
that is, competition. The competition of German and 
Italian barbers furnished the last and most potent reason 
for the withdrawal of the Negro ; they were skilled work- 
men, while skilled Negro barbers were becoming scarce ; 
they cut down the customary prices and some of them 
found business co-operation and encouragement which 
Negroes could not hope for. For these reasons the business 
is slipping from the Negro. This is undoubtedly a calamity 
and unless the Negro in spite of sentiment awakens in 
time he will find a lucrative employment gone and nothing 
in its place. Already a white labor union movement is 
beginning to crowd the Negro, to ask for legislation which 
will strike him most forcibly and in other ways to bring 
organized endeavor to bear upon disorganized apathy. 

The Seventh Ward has thirteen small Negro grocery 
stores. They are mostly new ventures, eight being less 
than a year old ; four, one to five years old, and one fifteen 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 117 

years old. Two are co-operative enterprises but have had 
no great success. All of these stores with two or three 
exceptions are really experiments and most of them will 
soon go to the wall and their places be taken by others. 
The six smaller shops represent investments of $25 to 
$50 ; two have $50 and $100 invested ; three between $100 
and $200, and one from $500 to $1000. The ambition of 
the middle class of Negroes lies in this direction and their 
endeavors are laudable. In another age of industrial 
development they would have already constituted them- 
selves a growing class of small tradesmen ; but to-day the 
department store and stock-company makes the competition 
too great for people with so little commercial training and 
instinct. Nevertheless the number of Negro groceries will 
undoubtedly grow considerably in the next decade. 

Next come fourteen cigar stores representing a total 
investment of $1000 to $1500 mostly in sums of $25, $50 
and $100. These stores have been established as follows : 
one year or less, six ; two years, four ; three to sixteen years, 
four. They sell cigars and tobacco, and daily papers; some 
also rent bicycles, or have a boot-blacking stand or pool 
room attached. One of the proprietors conducts, beside his 
cigar store, three barber shops and a restaurant, and 
employs twenty people. Some of these stores are finely 
equipped. This business is new for Negroes and growing ; 
a few women have ventured into it, and thus in some cases 
it furnishes a side occupation for wives. 

There are four candy and notion shops established 
respectively five months, six months, one year and three 
years, and each representing an investment of $10 to $100. 
They are in most cases in the hands of women and do a 
small business. There are also numberless places for selling 
fuel of all kinds, of which about thirteen rise to the dignity 
of shops. They represent small investments. 

Three retail liquor shops and one bottling establishment 
are conducted by colored people, representing considerable 



n8 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

investments. Two of the saloons are old and well-con- 
ducted, and financially successful. The other saloon and 
the bottling establishment are not very successful. 

Four large employment agencies and some smaller ones 
are situated in the ward. They conduct lodging houses 
and in some cases boarding houses in connection. One 
is sixteen years old ; all hire clerks. Their business 
is to act as agents for persons desiring servants, and 
to guide unemployed persons to situations ; for this 
they charge a percentage or fixed sum out of the wages. 
They also often serve as homes for unemployed servants, 
giving them board and lodging, sometimes on credit. 
Their work is thus useful and lucrative when properly 
conducted as in two or three establishments. In one 
or two others, however, there is some suspicion of unfair 
dealing ; servants are attracted from the south by catchy 
advertisements and personal letters, only to find themselves 
eventually penniless and out of work in a large city. 8 
Questionable acquaintanceships are also made at the 
agencies at times, which lead to ruin. These agencies 
need strict regulation. 

There are four undertaking establishments, two of which 
are conducted by women. They represent investments of 
$iooo-$io,ooo and two of them do a business which proba- 
bly aggregates $8000 or more annually in each case. They 
are all old establishments — six to thirty-three years — and in 
no branch of business, save one, has the Negro evinced so 
much push, taste and enterprise. Two of the establish- 
ments will, in equipment, compare favorably with the 
white businesses in the city ; indeed, in fair competition 
they have gained the great bulk of Negro and some white 
patronage from white competitors. 

Three bakeries, established two and three years respect- 



8 In Norfolk, Va., I once saw the advertisement on a street sign calling 
for colored "clerks, saleswomen, stenographers," etc., for Northern 
cities! 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 119 

ively are having moderate success. Six printing offices 
established, one, six months, the others four to seven years, 
do job work on small presses; two publish weekly papers. 
These shops are fairly successful and get considerable work 
from the colored people. One dressmaker has a shop with 
$150 invested; another runs a dressmaking school- 
Four upholsterers have shops, old and well established, 
and all do a good business ; in two cases the business 
amounts to two to five thousand a year. One sells 
antique furniture also. 

There are a large number of caterers in the ward — eighty- 
three 9 in all. Most of these, however, do a small busi- 
ness, and in some cases have other work also for at least a 
part of the year. Of the principal caterers there are about 
ten, of whom the doyen was the late Andrew F. Stevens. 10 
These ten caterers do a large business, amounting in some 
cases probably to $3000 to $5000 a year. They have a small 
co-operative store on Thirteenth street, with a considerable 
stock of dishes, and such things as olives, pickles, etc. 
This is conducted by a manager and has one hundred or 
more members. There is also a caterers' association, which 
is really a trades-union. Its club room serves as a clearing 
house for business and the employment of waiters. This 
has been running ten years. The catering business presents 
many interesting phases to the economist and sociologist. 
Undoubtedly the pre-eminence of Negroes in this business 
has declined since the Augustins, Jones and Dorsey passed. 
Negro caterers are still prominent, but they do not 
by any means dominate the field, as then. The chief 
reason for this is the change that has come over American 



9 This total includes a large number of men and women who do some 
private catering, but for the most part work under other caterers; strictly 
a large part of them are waiters rather than caterers. 

10 Mr. Stevens died in 1898 — he was an honest, reliable, business man — 
of pleasant address, and universally respected. He was easily the 
successor of Dorsey, Jones and Minton in the catering business. 



120 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

fashionable society in the last twenty-five years, and the 
application of large capital to the catering business. 
Philadelphia society is no longer a local affair, but receives 
its cue as to propriety and fashion from New York, Lon- 
don and Paris ; consequently the local caterers can no 
longer dictate fashion for any single American city ; more 
than this, demands have so risen with increasing wealth 
that catering establishments like Delmonico's, which would 
keep in the front rank, represent a large investment of 
capital — investments far beyond the power of the local 
Negro caterers of Philadelphia. Thus we find a large 
business built up by talent and tact, meeting with changed 
social conditions ; the business must therefore change too. 
It is the old development from the small to the large 
industry, from the house-industry to the concentrated 
industry, from the private dining room to the palatial hotel. 
If the Negro caterers of Philadelphia had been white, 
some of them would have been put in charge of a large 
hotel, or would have become co-partners in some large 
restaurant business, for which capitalists furnished funds. 
For such business co-operation, however, the time was not 
ripe, and perhaps only a few of the best Negro caterers 
would have been capable of entering into it with success. 
As it was, the change in fashion and mode of business 
changed the methods of the Negro caterers and their 
clientele. They began to serve the middle class instead 
of the rich and exclusive, their prices had to become more 
reasonable, and their efforts to excel had consequently fewer 
incentives. Moreover, they now came into sharp competi- 
tion with a class of small white caterers, who, if they 
were worse cooks, were better trained in the tricks of the 
trade. Then, too, with this new and large clientele that per- 
sonal relationship between the caterer and those served was 
broken up, and a larger place for color prejudice was made. 
It is thus plain that a curious economic revolution in 
one industry has gone on during twenty-nine years, not 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City, 121 

unaccompanied by grave social problems. In this case the 
Negro has emerged in better condition and has shown more 
capacity for hand to hand economic encounter than, for 
instance, in the barbering business. Yet he has not emerged 
unscathed ; in every such battle, when a Negro is fighting 
for an economic advantage, there is ever a widespread 
feeling among all his neighbors that it is inexpedient to 
allow this class to became wealthy or even well-to-do. 
Consequently the battle always becomes an Athanasius 
contra mundum, where almost unconsciously the whole 
countenance and aid of the community is thrown against 
the Negro. 

The three Negro cemetery companies of the city have 
their headquarters in the Seventh Ward. They arose from 
the curious prejudice of the whites against allowing 
Negroes to be buried near their dead. The companies 
hold valuable property and are fairly well conducted. n 
There are several expressmen in the ward owning their 
own outfits ; one has been established twenty-five years ; 
he has three or four wagons and hires four or five men 
regularly. There was in 1896 a hardware and furniture 
business forty-seven years old, on South street, but the 
proprietor, Robert Adger, has since died. u There are 



11 When the caterer Henry Jones died his funeral procession was 
actually turned back from the cemetery by the refusal of the authorities 
of Mt. Moriah Cemetery to allow him interment there; he had before his 
death bought and paid for a lot in the cemetery and the Supreme Court 
eventually confirmed his title. To-day this absurd prejudice is not so 
strong and Negroes own lots in the Episcopal Cemetery of St. James the 
Less and in perhaps one other. 

12 The following clipping from the Philadelphia Ledger, November 2, 
1896, illustrates a typical life: 

"Robert Adger, a colored Abolitionist, died on Saturday, at his home, 
835 South street. He was born a slave, in Charleston, S. C, in 1813. 
His mother, who was born in New York, went to South Carolina about 
1810, with some of her relatives, and while there was detained as a slave. 

"When his master died, Mr. Adger, together with his mother and other 
members of the family, were sold at auction, but, through the assistance 



122 



The Occupations of Negroes, [Chap. IX. 



several bicycle shops, a flourishing milk, butter and egg 
store, a china repairing shop, of long standing; a hair goods 
store, a rubber goods repairing shop, seventeen years old; 
a second-hand stove store and two patent medicine shops. 
To test the accuracy of these statistics and to note 
changes, a second visit was made in this ward in 1897, with 
this result : 



Negro Business Establishments, Seventh Ward, 1896-97. 



Business. 



Restaurants . . 
Barber shops .... 
Grocery stores .... 

Cigar stores 

Candy and notions . . 
Shoemaker shops . . 
Upholsterers .... 
Liquor saloons . . . 
Undertakers .... 

Newspapers 

Drug store 

Patent medicine stores 
Printing offices . . . 



1896 (Dec.) 


1897 (Oct.) 


23 


39 


23 


24 


13 


11 


14 


11 


4 


2 


8 


13 


4 


4 


3 


2 


4 


4 


2 


1 





1 


2 


2 


4 


4 



Such small businesses represent the efforts of a class of 
poor people to save capital. 13 They are all alike hindered 
by three great drawbacks : First, the Negro never was 
trained for business and can get no training now ; it is very 
seldom that a Negro boy or girl can on any terms get a 



of friends, legal proceedings were instituted, and their release finally 
secured. Mr. Adger then came to this city about 1845, and secured a 
position as a waiter in the old Merchants' Hotel. Later he was employed 
as a nurse, and while working in that capacity, saved.'enough money to 
start in the furniture business on South street, above Eighth, which he 
continued to conduct with success until his death. Mr. Adger always 
took an active interest in the welfare of the people of his race." 

13 One enterprising capitalist hires and sub-rents eight different houses 
with furnished apartments, paying $1944 annually in rent; he has a 
bicycle shop which brings in $1000 a year for an expense of about #330. 
He also owns a barber shop which brings in about $1000 a year; one-half 
the gross receipts of this he pays to a foreman, who pays his journeymen 
barbers; the owner pays for rent and material. " If I had an education,' » 
he said, " I could get on better." 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 123 

position in a store or other business establishment where 
he can learn the technique of the work or general business 
methods. Second, Negro merchants are so rare that it is 
natural for customers, both white and colored, to take it for 
granted that their business is poorly conducted without 
giving it a trial. 14 Third, the Negroes are unused to 
co-operation with their own people and the process of 
learning it is long and tedious. Hitherto, their economic 
activities have been directed almost entirely to the satis- 
faction of wants of the upper classes of white people, and, 
too, of personal and household wants ; they are just begin- 
ing to realize that within their own group there is a vast 
field for development in economic activity. The 40,000 
Negroes of Philadelphia need food, clothes, shoes, hats and 
furniture; these by proper thrift they see ought to be in part 
supplied by themselves, and the little business ventures we 
have noticed are attempts in this direction. These 
attempts would, however, be vastly more successful in 
another economic age. To-day, as before noted, the appli- 
cation of large capital to the retail business, the gathering 
of workmen into factories, the wonderful success of trained 
talent in catering to the whims and taste of customers 
almost precludes the effective competition of the small 
store. Thus the economic condition of the day militates 
largely against the Negro ; it requires more skill and ex- 
perience to run a small store than formerly and the large 
store and factory are virtually closed to him on any terms. 
Turning now to the other wards of the city let us notice 
some of the chief business ventures of the Negroes. This 
list is by no means exhaustive, but it is representative : 



14 Several storekeepers have had white persons enter the store, look at 
the proprietors and say " Oh ! I — er — made a mistake," and go out. 



124 



The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 



Ward. 



Second. 
Third. 

Fourth. 



Fifth. 



Eighth. 



Fourteenth. 



Twentieth. 



Character of Business. 



Harness shop . 

Grocery stores 
Barber shop . 



Barber shops 

Second-hand clothing .... 
Second-hand furniture . . . 
Coal and wood shops .... 

Newspaper 

Restaurants ' . 

Hair goods and dressmaking . 

Expressmen 

Decorating and paper-hanging 

Job printer 

Shoe repair shops 

Candy store (manufacture) . 

Cigar stores 

Crockery store 

Second-hand stoves .... 



Barber shops 

Pool-room 

Shoeblacking shop 

Restaurants 

Undertaker 

Fuel and notions 

Cigar store 

Publishing house (books and papers) 
Blacksmith and wheelwright .... 



Florist 

Watch repairer 

Newspaper and job printing 

Undertaker 

Hotel and liquor saloon . . 

Barber shops 

Upholsterers 

Rag warehouse 

Restaurants 

Fuel and newspaper shop . 

Grocery store 

Cigar stores 

Employment bureau . . . 
Hair-dresser for ladies . . . 

Barber 

Grocery store 

Upholsterer 

Dealer in mineral water . . 
Second-hand furniture store 
Fuel and candy store . - . 
Restaurants 



Tailor shop .... 
Shoe-repairing shop 
Barber shops . . . 



No. Estab- 
lishments. 



3 

I 

5 
i 

i 

4 
i 

10 

i 
5 

£ 
I 

3 

i 

2 

I 
I 

7 
i 
i 
8 

i 

2 

I 
I 

I 

I 
I 
I 

I 

I 

9 

2 
I 

5 
i 

I 

2 

I 
I 

I 
I 
I 
I 
I 
I 
2 

I 
I 
2 



Sect. 23.] 



Occupations in the City. 



J 25 



Ward. 



Twenty- 
seventh. 

Fifteenth 

and 

Twenty-ninth. 

Twenty-sixth 

and 

Thirtieth. 



Twenty-second. 



Character of Business. 



Real estate agent . . . 
Meat dealer (wholesale) 



Carpet-cleaning works 

Meat and provisions 

Barber shops and various small establishments 



Second-hand stoves . , 

Cigar store , 

Barber shops . . . . , 

Expressman . . . . , 
Second-hand furniture 
Upholsterer .... 

Grocery store ... . , 
Milk and ice shop . 

Job printing . . . . , 

Restaurant , 



Restaurant and lodging house 

Grocery stores 

Barbers 

Upholsterer 

Expressman 

Steam laundry 



No. Estab- 
lishments. 



I 
I 

I 

I 

20 

I 
I 
2 
I 
I 
I 
I 
I 
I 
I 

I 
2 
2 
I 
I 
I 



The most important omissions here are barber shops, on 
account of the large number, caterers, because their head- 
quarters are mainly in private houses, and many small 
stores which are easily overlooked and which quickly come 
and disappear. Some of the businesses are large and im- 
portant : Three or four caterers do a business of several 
thousand dollars per year ; the well-known Chestnut street 
florist does a nourishing and well-conducted business ; 15 
the undertaker in the Eighth Ward and the real estate 
dealer in the Twenty-seventh are unusually successful in 
their lines. The crockery store in the Fourth Ward is 
neat and tasty. The three largest enterprises are the pro- 
vision and wholesale meat businesses in the Fifteenth Ward, 
and the carpet cleaning works. It is reported that the 
business of each of these approaches $10,000 a year. 



15 Here was a case where some persons sought to drive an enterprising 
and talented Negro out of business simply because he was colored. A 
Chestnut street property owner made a special effort to give him a start 
and now he conducts a business of which no merchant need be ashamed. 



126 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

There are five weekly newspapers and a quarterly maga- 
zine published in the city by Negroes. Two of the papers 
are denominational organs for churches ; another paper is 
the official organ of the Odd Fellows ; the fourth and fifth 
are local news sheets. The quarterly is published by the 
A. M. B. Church. These papers are fairly successful, and 
are considerably read and reflect the general public opinion 
pretty well. Most of them have been very weak editorially, 
though there are some signs of improvement, especially in 
the case of the quarterly. The publishing house does a 
business of $15,000 a year. 

The Trades. — The practical exclusion of the Negro 
from the trades and industries of a great city like Phila- 
delphia is a situation by no means easy to explain. It is 
often said simply: the foreigners and trades unions have 
crowded Negroes out on account of race prejudice and left 
employers and philanthropists helpless in the matter. This 
is not strictly true. What the trades unions and white 
workmen have done is to seize an economic advantage 
plainly offered them. This opportunity arose from three 
causes : Here was a mass of black workmen of whom 
very few were by previous training fitted to become the 
mechanics and artisans of a new industrial development ; 
here, too, were an increasing mass of foreigners and native 
Americans who were unusually well fitted to take part in 
the new industries ; finally, most people were willing and 
many eager that Negroes should be kept as menial servants 
rather than develop into industrial factors. This was 
the situation, and here was the opportunity for the white 
workmen ; they were by previous training better workmen 
on the average than Negroes; they were stronger numer- 
ically and the result was that every new industrial enter- 
prise started in the city took white workmen. Soon the 
white workmen were strong enough to go a step further 
than this and practically prohibit Negroes from entering 
trades under any circumstances ; this affected not only new 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 127 

enterprises, but also old trades like carpentering, masonry, 
plastering and the like. The supply of Negroes for such 
trades could not keep pace with the extraordinary growth 
of the city and a large number of white workmen entered 
the field. They immediately combined against Negroes 
primarily to raise wages ; the standard of living of the 
Negroes lets them accept low wages, and, conversely, long 
necessity of accepting the meagre wages offered have made 
a low standard of living. Thus partially by taking 
advantage of race prejudice, partially by greater economic 
efficiency and partially 'by the endeavor to maintain and 
raise wages, white workmen have not only monopolized 
the new industrial opportunities of an age which has 
transformed Philadelphia from a colonial town to a world- 
city, but have also been enabled to take from the Negro 
workman the opportunities he already enjoyed in certain 
lines of work. 

If now a benevolent despot had seen the development, 
he would immediately have sought to remedy the real 
weakness of the Negro's position, i. e., his lack of train- 
ing; and he' would have swept away any discrimination 
that compelled men to support as criminals those who 
might support themselves as workmen. 

He would have made special effort to train Negro boys 
for industrial life and given them a chance to compete on 
equal terms with the best white workmen ; arguing that 
in the long run this would be best for all concerned, since 
by raising the skill and standard of living of the Negroes 
he would make them effective workmen and competitors who 
would maintain a decent level of wages. He would have 
sternly suppressed organized or covert opposition to Negro 
workmen. 

There was, however, no benevolent despot, no philan- 
thropist, no far-seeing captain of industry to prevent the 
Negro from losing even the skill he had learned or to inspire 
him by opportunities to learn more. As the older Negroes 



128 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

with trades dropped off, there was little to induce younger 
men to succeed them. On the contrary special effort was 
made not to train Negroes for industry or to allow them to 
enter on such a career. Consequently they gradually slipped 
out of industrial life until in 1890 when the Negroes formed 
4 per cent of the population, only 1.1 per cent of 134,709 
men in the principal trades of the city were Negroes ; of 
46,200 women in these trades 1.3 per cent were Negroes ; 
or taking men and women together, 2160 or 1.19 per cent 
of all were Negroes. This does not, however, tell the 
whole story, for of this 2160, the barbers, brickmakers, 
and dressmakers formed 1434. In the Seventh Ward the 
number in the trades is much larger than the proportion 
in the city, but here again they are confined to a few 
trades — barbers, dressmakers, cigarmakers and shoemakers. 
How now has this exclusion been maintained ? In 
some cases by the actual inclusion of the word " white " 
among qualifications for entrance into certain trade unions. 
More often, however, by leaving the matter of color 
entirely to local bodies, who make no general rule, but 
invariably fail to admit a colored applicant except under 
pressing circumstances. This is the most workable system 
and is adopted by nearly all trade unions. In sections 
where Negro labor in certain trades is competent and con- 
siderable, the trades union welcomes them, as in Western 
Pennsylvania among miners and iron-workers, and in 
Philadelphia among cigarmakers ; but whenever there is a 
trade where good Negro workmen are comparatively 
scarce each union steadfastly refuses to admit Negroes, and 
relies on color prejudice to keep up the barrier. Thus the 
carpenters, masons, painters, iron-workers, etc., have suc- 
ceeded in keeping out nearly all Negro workmen by 
simply declining to work with non-union men and refusing 
to let colored men join the union. Sometimes, in time 
of strikes, the unions are compelled in self-defence not 
only to allow Negroes to join but to solicit them ; this 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 129 

happened, for instance, in the stone-cutters' strike some 
years ago. 

To repeat, then, the real motives back of this exclusion 
are plain : a large part is simple race prejudice, always 
strong in working classes and intensified by the peculiar 
history of the Negro in this country. Another part r 
however, and possibly a more potent part, is the natural 
spirit of monopoly and the desire to keep up wages. So 
long as a cry against " Irish " or " foreigners " was able to 
marshal race prejudice in the service of those who desired 
to keep those people out of some employments, that cry 
was sedulously used. So to-day the workmen plainly see 
that a large amount of competition can be shut off by 
taking advantage of public opinion and drawing the color 
line. Moreover, in this there is one thoroughly justifiable 
consideration that plays a great part : namely, the Negroes 
are used to low wages — can live on them, and consequently 
would fight less fiercely than most whites against reduc- 
tion. 

The employers in this matter are not altogether blame- 
less. Their objects in conducting business are not, of 
course, wholly philanthropic, and yet, as a class, they rep- 
resent the best average intelligence and morality of the 
community. .A firm stand by some of them for common 
human right might save the city something in taxes for 
the suppression of crime and vice. There came some time 
since to the Midvale Steel Works a manager whom many 
dubbed a " crank ;" he had a theory that Negroes and 
whites could work together as mechanics without friction 
or trouble. 16 In spite of some protest he put his theory into 
practice, and to-day any one can see Negro mechanics 
working in the same gangs with white mechanics with- 
out disturbance. A few other cases on a smaller scale 



16 The large steel manufactory known as the "Midvale Steel Works M 
is located at Nicetown, near Germantown, in Philadelphia County. This 

9 



130 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

have occurred throughout the city. In general, however, 
the black mechanic who seeks work from a mill owner, or 
a contractor, or a capitalist is told : " I have no feeling in 
the matter, but my men will not work with you." Without 
doubt, in many cases, the employer is really powerless ; in 
many other cases he is not powerless, but is willing to 
appear so. 

The Negroes of the city who have trades either give 
them up and hire out as waiters or laborers, or they become 
job workmen and floating hands, catching a bit of carpen- 
tering here or a little brick-work or plastering there at 
reduced wages. Undoubtedly much blame can rightly be 
laid at the door of Negroes for submitting rather tamely to 
this organized opposition. If they would meet organization 
with organization and excellence of work by excellence, 



establishment was visited by the writer, and the manager of the estab- 
lishment interviewed as to the success of the experiment made by him 
in employing Negroes as workmen along with whites. 

About 1200 men are employed altogether, and fully 200 of these are 
Negroes. About 40 per cent of the whole number of employes are 
American-born, but generally of Irish, English or German parentage. 
The remaining 43 per cent are foreign-born, chiefly English, Irish and 
German, with a few Swedes. 

" Our object in putting Negroes on the force,'* said the manager, 
" was twofold. First, we believed them to be good workmen ; secondly, 
we thought they could be used to get over one difficulty we had experi- 
enced at Midvale, namely, the clannish spirit of the workmen and a 
tendency to form cliques. In steel manufacture much of the work is 
done with large tools run by gangs of men; the work was crippled by 
the different foremen trying always to have the men in their gang all of 
their own nationality. The English foreman of a hammer gang, for 
instance, would want only Englishmen, and the Irish Catholics only 
Irishmen. This was not good for the works, nor did it promote friend- 
liness among the workmen. So we began bringing in Negroes and 
placing them on different gangs, and at the same time we distributed 
the other nationalities. Now our gangs have, say, one Negro, one or two 
Americans, an Englishman, etc. The result has been favorable both for 
the men and for the works. Things run smoothly, and the output is 
noticeably greater." 

The manager was especially questioned about the grade of work 
done by Negroes and their efficiency as skilled workmen. He said: 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 131 

they could do much to win standing in the industries of 
the cities. This is to-day hard to begin, but it is worth 
the trying, and the Industrial Department of the Institute 
for Colored Youth, which the Negroes themselves helped 
equip, is a step in this direction. 

Clerks, Semi-professional and Responsible Workers. — 
Under this head has been grouped a miscellaneous mass of 
occupations : clerks in public and private service, stewards, 
messengers, musicians, agents, managers and foremen, 
actors, policemen, etc., i. e., that class of persons whose 
position demands a degree of attainment in education, 
reliability, talent or skill. Here the number of Negroes 
is small, but they are nearly as well represented as in 
trades — an indication of a rather abnormal development. 
Of 46,393 men in this class of occupations in the city (i. e. y 
policemen, watchmen, agents, commercial travelers, bankers 



"They do all the grades of work done by the white workmen. Some of 
this work is of such a nature that it had been supposed that only very 
intelligent English and American workmen could be trusted with it. We 
have 100 colored men doing that skilled work now, and they do it as well 
as any of the others. ' ' 

As to wages, the manager said no discrimination was made between 
Negroes and whites. They start as laborers at $1.20 a day and " we try 
to treat them as individuals, not as a herd; they know that good work 
gives them a chance for better work and better pay. Thus their ambition 
is aroused; "yesterday, for instance, four Negroes saved a furnace worth 
#30,000. The furnace was full of molten steel, which had become 
clogged, so that it could not be gotten out in the usual way. A number 
of powerful men were required to open the side of the furnace. Four 
colored men volunteered and saved the steel." 

With"regard to the relations between white and black workmen the 
manager said: "We have had no trouble at all.- The unions generally 
hold potential strikes over their employers' heads to keep the Negro out 
of employment. There has, however, been no strike in this establish- 
ment for seventeen yeais, and Negroes have been employed for the last 
seven years." 

Finally the manager declared that according to his belief the Negro 
workman does not have half a chance to show his ability. " He does 
good work and betters his condition when he has any inducement to do 
so." Isabel Eaton. 



132 



The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 



and brokers, bookkeepers, clerks and salesmen, and bar- 
keepers) 327, or seven-tenths of 1 per cent were Negroes ; 
if we add to this stewards, messengers, musicians, and 
clerks in government service, they form about 1 per cent of 
those in the city. Nearly all the clerks and salesmen are to 
be found in Negro stores, although there are a few excep- 
tions. 

Clerks, Semi-professionai, and Responsible Workers in 
Philadelphia, 1890. 



Occupation. 



Total. 



Negroes. 



Watchmen, policemen and detectives 

Bartenders 

Agents and collectors 

Bankers, brokers, etc 

Bookkeepers, clerks, etc 

Salesmen 



4,113 


62 


1,683 


32 


5,049 


38 


2,072 


6 


23,057 


130 


10,419 


38 



Total 



46,393 



326 



There are about sixty colored policemen on the force at 
present, and the general impression seems to be that they 
make good average officers. They were first appointed to 
the police force by Mayor King in 1884. At first there 
was violent opposition, which would have been listened to 
had it not been for political complications. The Negro 
policemen are put on duty mostly in or near the chief 
Negro settlements and no one of them has yet been pro- 
moted from the ranks. The number of Negroes in 
government service is as follows : 

Municipal departments 11 

Custom House 1 

Post-office 17 

Navy yard 1 

Beside these there are a number of messengers and 
ordinary laborers. In many cases these clerks have made 
very excellent records, as in the case of the discount clerk 
in the tax office, who has held his position for many years, 
and is perhaps the most efficient clerk in the office ; or 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City, 133 

again the Negro postmaster and employes in the post- 
office at Wanamaker's store who have been unusually 
successful in administrating the second largest sub-station 
in the city. In a few cases certain Negroes have received 
office through political influence and have been plainly 
unfitted for their work. 

There are a few clerks in responsible positions — one 
employed by the Pennsylvania railway company, another 
in a bank. Such cases, however, are rare. 

Laborers. — The great mass of the men and a large per- 
centage of the women are manual laborers — i. e. , teamsters, 
janitors, stevedores, hod-carriers, hostlers, [elevator-men, 
sailors, china-packers and night-watchmen. Their wages 
are usually : 

Teamsters $1 to $1.50 a day. 

Janitors $30 to $60 a month. 

Stevedores 20c. to 30c. an hour (irregular employment). 

Hod-carriers . . . . $1.50 to $2.50 a day (employed according to season). 

Hostlers $16 to #30 a month. 

Elevator-men . . . $16 to $25 a month. 

Besides these there are the ordinary porters, errand 
boys, newsboys and day-laborers, whose earnings vary 
considerably, but usually are too small to support a family 
without much help from wife and children. Stevedores, 
hod-carriers and * day-laborers are especially liable to 
irregular employment, which makes life hard for them 
sometimes. The mass of the men are, save in the lower 
grades, given average wages and meet their greatest diffi- 
culty in securing work. The competition in ordinary 
laboring work is severe in so crowded a city. The women 
day-laborers are, on the whole, poorly paid, and meet fierce 
competition in laundry work and cleaning. 

The most noticeable thing about the Negro laborers as 
a whole is their uneven quality. There are some first- 
class, capable and willing workers, who have held their 
positions for years and give perfect satisfaction. On the 



134 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

other hand, there are numbers of inefficient and unintelli- 
gent laborers on whom employers cannot rely and who 
are below average American labor in ability. This 
unevenness arises from two causes : the different training 
of the various groups of Negroes composing the city 
population ; some are the descendants of generations of 
free Negroes ; some of trained house-servants, long in close 
contact with their masters' families ; others are the sons 
of field-hands, untouched and untrained by contact with 
civilized institutions : all this vast difference in preparation 
shows vast differences in results. The second reason lies 
in the increased competition within the group, and the 
growing lack of incentive to good work, owing to the 
difficulty of escaping from manual toil into higher and 
better paid callings ; the higher classes of white labor are 
continually being incorporated into the skilled trades, or 
clerical workers, or other higher grades of labor. Some- 
times this happens with Negroes but not often. The first- 
class ditcher can seldom become foreman of a gang ; the 
hod-carrier can seldom become a mason ; the porter 
cannot have much hope of being a clerk, or the elevator- 
boy of becoming a salesman. Consequently we find the 
ranks of the laborers among Negroes filled to an unusual 
extent with disappointed men, with men who have lost the 
incentive to excel, and have become chronic grumblers 
and complainers, spreading this spirit further than it would 
naturally go. At the same time this shutting of the 
natural outlet for ability means an increase of competition 
for ordinary work. 

Without doubt there is not in Philadelphia enough work 
of the kind that the mass of Negroes can and may do, to 
employ at fair wages the laborers who at present desire 
work. The result of this must, of course, be disastrous, 
and give rise to many loafers, criminals, and casual labor- 
ers. The situation is further complicated by the fact 
that in seasons when work is more plentiful, temporary 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 135 

immigrations from trie South swell the number of laborers 
abnormally ; every spring the tide of immigration sets in, 
consisting of brickmakers, teamsters, asphalt-workers, 
common laborers, etc., who work during the summer in 
the city and return to the cheaper living of Virginia and 
Maryland for the winter. This makes the competition in 
summer close for Philadelphians, and often brings actual 
distress in winter. A pressing duty is to see that the 
opportunities for work in the city are not misrepresented, 
and to relieve congestion in some avenues by opening 
others to Negro labor'. Nor would this be a boon simply 
for Negroes : the excessive competition of Negroes in 
certain lines of work makes more suffering for their white 
competitors than if that competition were less intense in 
places and spread over a larger area. White hod-carriers 
and porters suffer greatly from competition, while other 
branches of labor are artificially protected — an economic 
injustice which might be remedied. 

Another custom that works much harm to all classes 
and colors of laborers is the custom of working exclusively 
white or exclusively colored gangs of workmen. It is unjust 
to the Negro because it virtually closes the greater part of 
the field of labor against him, since his numbers are small 
compared with the population of the city, and it is harder 
for him to gather gangs than for the whites. It is, how- 
ever, a fruitful cause of injustice to white laborers ; for the 
contractor who gets a gang of Negroes to work, has a 
temptation to force down wages which he seldom resists or 
cares to resist. He knows that the standard of living of 
the Negroes is low, and their chances for employment 
limited. He therefore takes on a gang of Negroes, lowers 
wages, and then if whites wish to regain their places, they 
must accept the lower wages. The white laborers then 
blame the Negroes for bringing down wages — a charge 
with just enough truth in it to intensify existing preju- 
dices. If laborers on ordinary jobs were hired regardless 



136 The Occupations of Negroes, [Chap. IX. 

of color and according to efficiency, no doubt both white 
and black labor would gain, and the employer would not 
in the long run lose much. 

Servants. — Probably over one-fourth of the domestic 
servants of Philadelphia are Negroes, and conversely 
nearly one-third of the Negroes in the city are servants. 
This makes the Negro a central problem in any careful 
study of domestic service, and domestic service a large 
part of the Negro problems. The matter thus is so 
important that it has been made the subject of a special 
study appended to this work. A few general considera- 
tions only will be advanced here. 

So long as entrance into domestic service involves a loss 
of all social standing and consideration, so long will domes- 
tic service be a social problem. The problem may vary in 
character with different countries and times, but there will 
always be some maladjustment in social relations when any 
considerable part of a population is required to get its sup- 
port in a manner which the other part despises, or affects 
to despise. In the United States the problem is compli- 
cated by the fact that for years domestic service was per- 
formed by slaves, and afterward, up till to-day, largely by 
black freedmen — thus adding a despised race to a despised 
calling. Even when white servants increased in number 
they were composed of white foreigners, with but a small 
proportion of native Americans. Thus by long experience 
the United States has come to associate domestic service 
with some inferiority in race or training. 

The effect of this attitude on the character of the service 
rendered, and the relation of mistress and maid, has been 
only too evident, and has in late years engaged the atten- 
tion of some students and many reformers. These have 
pointed out how necessary and worthy a work the domestic 
performs, or could perform, if properly trained ; that the 
health, happiness and efficiency of thousands of homes, 
which are training the future leaders of the republic, depend 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 137 

largely on their domestic service. This is true, and yet the 
remedy for present ills is not clear until we recognize how 
far removed the present commercial method of hiring a ser- 
vant in 'market is from that which obtained at the time when 
the daughters of the family, or of the neighbor's family, 
helped in the housework. In other words, the industrial 
revolution of the century has affected domestic service 
along with other sorts of labor, by separating employer 
and employed into distinct classes. With the Negro the 
effect of this was not apparent so long as slavery lasted ; 
the house servant remained an integral part of the master's 
family, with rights and duties. When emancipation broke 
this relation there went forth to hire a number of trained 
black servants, who were welcomed South and North ; they 
liked their work, they knew no other kind, they under- 
stood it, and they made ideal servants. In Philadelphia 
twenty or thirty years ago there were plenty of this class 
of Negro servants and a few are still left. 

A generation has, however, greatly altered the face of 
affairs. There were in the city, in 1890, 42,795 servants, 
and of these 10,235 were Negroes. Who are these 
Negroes? No longer members of Virginia households 
trained for domestic work, but principally young people 
who were using domestic service as a stepping-stone to 
something else ; who worked as servants simply because 
they could get nothing else to do ; who had received no 
training in service because they never expected to make it 
their life-calling. They, in common with their white fel- 
low citizens, despised domestic service as a relic of slavery, 
and they longed to get other work as their fathers had 
longed to be free. In getting other work, however, they 
were not successful, partly on account of lack of ability, 
partly on account of the strong race prejudice against 
them. Consequently to-day the ranks of Negro servants, 
and that means largely the ranks of domestic service in 
general in Philadelphia, have received all those whom the 



138 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

harsh competition of a great city has pushed down, all 
whom a relentless color proscription has turned back from 
other chosen vocations ; half-trained teachers and poorly 
equipped students who have not succeeded ; carpenters and 
masons who may not work at their trades ; girls with com- 
mon school training, eager for the hard work but respect- 
able standing of shop girls and factory hands, and proscribed 
by their color— in fact, all those young people who, by 
natural evolution in the case of the whites, would have 
stepped a grade higher than their fathers and mothers in 
the social scale, have in the case of the post-bellum gen- 
eration of Negroes been largely forced back into the great 
mass of the listless and incompetent to earn bread and 
butter by menial service. 

And they resent it ; they are often discontented and 
bitter, easily offended and without interest in their work. 
Their attitude and complaint increases the discontent of 
their fellows who have little ability, and probably could 
not rise in the world if they might. And, above all, both 
the disappointed and the incompetents are alike ignorant 
of domestic service in nearly all its branches, and in this 
respect are a great contrast to the older set of Negro 
servants. 

Under such circumstances the first far-sighted movement 
would have been to open such avenues of work and 
employment to young Negroes that only those best fitted 
for domestic work would enter service. Of course this is 
difficult to do even for the whites, and yet it is still the 
boast of America that, within certain limits, talent can 
choose the best calling for its exercise. Not so with Negro 
youth. On the contrary, the field for exercising their talent 
and ambition is, broadly speaking, confined to the dining 
room, kitchen and street. If now competition had drained 
off the talented and aspiring into other avenues, and eased 
the competition in this one vocation, then there would 
have been room for a second movement, namely, for training 



Sect. 23.] Occupations in the City. 139 

schools, which would fit the mass of Negro and white 
domestic servants for their complicated and important 
duties. Such a twin movement — the diversification of 
Negro industry and the serious training of domestic ser- 
vants — would do two things : it would take the ban from 
the calling of domestic service by ceasing to make "Negro " 
and " servant " synonymous terms. This would make it 
possible for both whites and blacks to enter more freely into 
service without a fatal and disheartening loss of self- 
respect ; secondly, it would furnish trained servants — a sad 
necessity to-day, as any housekeeper can testify. 

Such a movement did not, however, take place, but, on 
the contrary, another movement. English trained ser- 
vants, the more docile Swedes and better paid white ser- 
vants were brought in to displace Negro servants. One 
has but to notice the coachmen on the driveways, or the 
butlers on Rittenhouse Square, or the nursemaids. in Fair- 
mount Park, to see how largely white servants have dis- 
placed Negroes. How has this displacement been brought 
about? First, by getting better trained and more willing 
servants ; secondly, by paying servants higher wages. The 
Swedish and American servants, in most cases, know more 
of domestic service than the post-bellum generation of 
Negroes, and certainly as a class they are far more recon- 
ciled to their lot. In the higher branches of domestic ser- 
vice — cooks, butlers and coachmen — the process has been 
to substitute a man at $50 to $75 a month for one at $30 
to $40, and naturally again the result has been gratifying, 
because a better class of men are attracted by the wages ; 
thus the waiters at the new large hotels are not merely 
white, but better paid, and undoubtedly ought to render bet- 
ter service. In these ways without doubt domestic service 
has in some respects improved in the city by a partial substi- 
tution of better trained, better paid and more contented white 
servants for poorly trained, discontented, and in the case 
of waiters, butlers and coachmen, poorly paid Negroes. 



140 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

Moreover, the substitution has not met with active opposi- 
tion or economic resistance on the part of the Negroes, 
because fully one-half of those in domestic service would 
be only too glad to get other work of any kind. 

What now has been the result of these economic changes ? 
The result has undoubtedly been the increase of crime, pau- 
perism and idleness among Negroes : because while they are 
being to some extent displaced as servants, no correspond- 
ing opening for employment in other lines^ has been made. 
How long can such a process continue ? How long can a 
community pursue such a contradictory economic policy — 
first confining a large portion of its population to a pursuit 
which public opinion persists in looking down upon ; then 
displacing them even there by better trained and better paid 
competitors. Manifestly such a course is bound to make 
that portion of the community a burden on the public ; to 
debauch its women, pauperize its men, and ruin its homes ; 
it makes the one central question of the Seventh Ward, 
not imperative social betterments, raising of the standard 
of home life, taking advantage of the civilizing institutions 
of the great city — on the contrary, it makes it a sheer 
question of bread and butter and the maintenance of a 
standard of living above that of the Virginia plantation. 

Nor has the whole group failed in every case to answer 
this question : the foregoing statistics show how, slowly and 
under many discouragements, diversification of employ- 
ments is taking place among the black population. This, 
however, is the brighter side and represents the efforts of 
that determined class among all people that surmount 
eventually nearly all obstacles. The spirit of the age 
however looks to-day not to the best and most energetic, 
but to those oh the edge, those who will become effect- 
ive members of society only when properly encouraged. The 
great mass of the Negroes naturally belong to this class and 
when we turn to the darker side of the picture and study 
the disease, poverty and crime of the Negro population, 



Sect. 24.] History of Occupations, 141 

then we realize that the question of employment for 
Negroes is the most pressing of the day and that the starting 
point is domestic service which still remains their peculiar 
province. First then as before said the object of social 
reform should be so to diversify Negro employments as to 
afford proper escape from menial employment for the 
talented few, and so as to allow the mass some choice in 
their lifework : this would be not only for the sake of 
Negro development, but for the sake of a great human 
industry which must continue to suffer as long as the odium 
of race is added to a- disposition to look down upon the 
employment under any circumstances ; the next movement 
ought to be to train servants — not toward servility and toady- 
ing, but in problems of health and hygiene, in proper clean- 
ing and cooking, and in matters of etiquette and good form. 

To this must be added such arousing of the public con- 
science as shall lead people to recognize more keenly than 
now the responsibility of the family toward its servants — to 
remember that they are constituent members of the family 
group and as such have rights and privileges as well as 
duties. To-day in Philadelphia the tendency is the other 
way. Thousands of servants no longer lodge where they 
work but are free at night to wander at will, to hire lodg- 
ings in suspicious houses, to consort with paramours, and 
thus to bring moral and physical disease to their place of 
work. A reform is imperatively needed, and here, as in most 
of the Negro problems, a proper reform will benefit white 
and black alike — the employer as well as the employed. 

24. History of the Occupations of Negroes. — There 
early arose in the colony of Pennsylvania the custom of 
hiring out slaves, especially mechanics and skilled work- 
men. This very soon roused the ire of the free white 
workmen, and in 1708 and 1722 we find them petitioning 
the legislature against the practice, and receiving some 
encouragement therefrom. As long, however, as an in- 
fluential class of slaveholders had a direct financial interest 



142 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

in black mechanics they saw to it that neither law nor 
prejudice hindered Negroes from working. Thus before 
and after the Revolution there were mechanics as well as 
servants among the Negroes. The proportion of servants, 
however, was naturally very large. We have no figures 
until 1820, when of the 7582 Negroes in the city, 2585 or 34 
per cent were servants ; in 1840, 27 per cent were servants. 
Some of these servants represented families, so that the 
proportion of those dependent on domestic service was 
larger even than the percentage indicated. In 1896 in the 
Seventh Ward the per cent of servants, using the same 
method of computation was 27.3 per cent. 

Of those not servants, the Negroes themselves declared 
in 1832, that "notwithstanding the difficulty of getting 
places for our sons as apprentices to learn mechanical 
trades, owing to the prejudices with which we have to con- 
tend, there are between four and five hundred people of color 
in the city and suburbs who follow mechanical employ- 
ments." In 1838 the investigator of the Abolition Society 
found 997 of the 17,500 Negroes in the county who had 
learned trades, although only a part of these (perhaps 350) 
actually worked at their trades at that time. The rest, out- 
side the servants and men with trades, were manual 
laborers. Many of these mechanics were afterward driven 
from the city by the mobs. 

In 1848 another study of the Negroes found the distribu- 
tion of the Negroes as follows : 

Of 3358 men, twenty-one years of age and over : 

Laborers 1581 

Waiters, cooks, etc 557 

Mechanics 286 

Coachmen, carters, etc 276 

Sailors, etc 240 

Shopkeepers, traders, etc 166 

Barbers 156 

Various occupations 96 

3358 



Sect. 24.] History of Occupations, 143 

Of 4249 women, twenty-one years and over there were : 

Washerwomen 1970 

Seamstresses 486 

Day workers 786 

In trades - • 213 

Housewives 290 

Servants (living at home) . 156 

Cooks 173 

Rag pickers 103 

Various occupations 72 

4249 

Of both sexes five to twenty years of age there were : 

School children 1940 

Unaccounted for 1200 

At home 484 

Helpless 33 

Working at home 274 

Servants 354 

Laborers 253 

Sweeps 12 

Porters 18 

Apprentices 230 

4798 

Besides these there were in white families 3716 servants. 

Just how accurate the statistics of 1847 were it is now 
difficult to say, probably there was some exaggeration from 
the well-meant effort of the friends of the Negro to show 
the best side. Nevertheless it seems as though the diver- 
sity of employments at this time was considerable, although 
of course under such heads as " shop keepers and traders " 
street stands more often than stores were meant. 

In 1856 the inquiry appears to have been more exhaus- 
tive and careful, and the number of Negroes with trades 
had increased to 1637 — including barbers and dressmakers. 
Even here, however, some uncertainty enters, for " less than 
two-thirds of those who have trades follow them. A few 
of the remainder pursue other avocations from choice, but 
the greater number are compelled to abandon their trades 



144 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

on account of the unrelenting prejudice against their 
color." The following table gives these returns : 

Occupation oe Philadelphia Negroes, 1856. 

Mechanical Trades. 

Dressmakers 588 

Barbers 248 

Shoemakers 112 

Shirt and dressmakers 70 

Brickmakers . 53 

Carpenters , 49 

Milliners and dressmakers 45 

Tailors 49 

Tanners and curriers 24 

Blacksmiths 22 

Cabinetmakers 20 

Weavers 16 

Pastry cooks 10 

Plasterers 14 

Sailmakers 12 

113 other trades with one to nine in each 305 

1637 
In the light of such historical testimony it seems certain 
that the industrial condition of the Negro in the last cen- 
tury has undergone great vicissitudes, although it is difficult 
sometimes to trace them. A diagram something like this 
would possibly best represent the historical development 
for a century : 




1790 



1850 I860 1870 (880 1890 



Such a diagram must of course be based largely upon 
conjecture, but it represents as nearly as the data allow 
the proportionate — not the absolute — extent to which the 
Negroes of the city are represented in certain pursuits. 



Sect. 24.] History of Occupations, 145 

• In the half century 1840 to 1890 the proportion of 
Negroes who are domestic servants has not greatly changed ; 
the mass of the remainder are still laborers ; their oppor- 
tunities for employment have been restricted by three 
causes : competition, industrial change, color prejudice. 
The competition has come in later years from the phenom- 
enal growth of cities and the consequent hardening of 
conditions of life : the Negro has especially felt this change 
because of all the elements of our urban population he is 
least prepared by previous training for rough, keen compe- 
tition ; the industrial changes since and just before the 
emancipation of the slaves have had a great influence on 
their development, to which little notice has hitherto been 
given. In the industrial history of nations the change 
from agriculture to manufacturing and trade has been a 
long, delicate process : first came house industries — spin- 
ning and weaving and the like ; then the market with its 
simple processes of barter and sale ; then the permanent 
stall or shop, and at last the small retail store. In our day 
this small retail store is in process of evolution to some- 
thing larger and more comprehensive. When we look at 
this development and see how suddenly the American city 
Negro has been snatched from agriculture to the centres of 
trade and manufactures, it should not surprise us to learn 
that he has not as yet succeeded in finding a permanent place 
in that vast system of industrial co-operation. Apart from 
all questions of race, his problem in this respect is greater 
than the problem of the white country boy or the European 
peasant immigrant, because his previous industrial condition 
was worse than theirs and less calculated to develop the 
power of self-adjustment, self-reliance and co-operation. 
All these considerations are further complicated by the fact 
that the industrial condition of the Negro cannot be con- 
sidered apart from the great fact of race prejudice — indefi- 
nite and shadowy as that phrase may be. It is certain 
that, while industrial co-operation among the groups of a 
10 



146 The Occupations of Negroes. [Chap. IX. 

great city population is very difficult under ordinary cir- 
cumstances, that here it is rendered more difficult and in 
some respects almost impossible by the fact that nineteen- 
twentieths of the population have in many cases refused 
to co-operate with the other twentieth, even when the 
co-operation means life to the latter and great advantage to 
the former. In other words, one of the great postulates of 
the science of economics — that men will seek their 
economic advantage — is in this case untrue, because in many 
cases men will not do this if it involves association, even 
in a casual and business way, with Negroes. And this 
fact must be taken account of in all judgments as to the 
Negro's economic progress. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE HEALTH OF NEGROES. 

25. The Interpretation of Statistics. — The character- 
istic signs which usually accompany a low civilization are 
a high birth rate and a high death rate ; or, in other 
words, early marriages and neglect of the laws of physical 
health. This fact, which has often been illustrated by sta- 
tistical research, has not yet been fully apprehended by 
the general public because they have long been used to 
hearing more or less true tales of the remarkable health 
and longevity of barbarous peoples. For this reason the 
recent statistical research which reveals the large death rate 
among American Negroes is open to very general misappre- 
hension. It is a remarkable phenomenon which throws 
much light on the Negro problems and suggests some 
obvious solutions. On the other hand, it does not prove, 
as most seem to think, a vast recent change in the con- 
dition of the Negro. Reliable data as to the physical 
health of the Negro in slavery are entirely wanting ; and 
yet, judging from the horrors of the middle passage, the 
decimation on the West Indian plantations, and the bad 
sanitary condition of the Negro quarters on most Southern 
plantations, there must have been an immense death rate 
among slaves, notwithstanding all reports as to endur- 
ance, physical strength and phenomenal longevity. Just 
how emancipation has affected this death rate is not clear ; 
the rush to cities, where the surroundings are unhealthful, 
has had a bad effect, although this migration on a large 
scale is so recent that its full effect is not yet apparent ; on 
the other hand, the better care of children and improvement 
in home life has also had some favorable effect. On the 
whole, then, we must remember that reliable statistics as 
to Negro health are but recent in date and that as yet no 

(147) 



148 The Health of Negroes. [Chap. X. 

important conclusions can be arrived at as to historic 
changes or tendencies. One thing we must of course 
expect to find, and that is a much higher death rate at 
present among Negroes than among whites : this is one 
measure of the difference in their social advancement. They 
have in the past lived under vastly different conditions and 
they still live under different conditions : to assume that, 
in discussing the inhabitants of Philadelphia, one is dis- 
cussing people living under the same conditions of life, is 
to assume what is not true. Broadly speaking, the Negroes 
as a class dwell in the most unhealthful parts of the city 
and in the worst houses in those parts ; which is of course 
simply saying that the part of the population having a 
large degree of poverty, ignorance and general social 
degradation is usually to be found in the worst portions of 
our great cities. 

Therefore, in considering the health statistics of the 
Negroes, we seek first to know their absolute condition, 
rather than their relative status ; we want to know what 
their death rate is, how it has varied and is varying and 
what its tendencies seem to be ; with these facts fixed we 
must then ask, What is the meaning of a death rate like 
that of the Negroes of Philadelphia ? Is it, compared with 
with other races, large, moderate or small ; and in the case 
of nations or groups with similar death rates, What has 
been the tendency and outcome ? Finally, we must com- 
pare the death rate of the Negroes with that of the com- 
munities in which they live and thus roughly measure the 
social difference between these neighboring groups ; we 
must endeavor also to eliminate, so far as possible, from the 
problem disturbing elements which would make a differ- 
ence in health among people of the same social advance- 
ment. Only in this way can we intelligently interpret 
statistics of Negro health. 

Here, too, we have to remember that the collection of 
statistics, even in Philadelphia, is by no means perfect. 



Sect. 26.] 



The Statistics of the City. 



149 



The death returns are to be relied upon, but the returns of 
births are wide of the true condition ; the statistics of causes 
of death are also faulty. 

26. The Statistics of the City. — The mortality of 
Negroes in Philadelphia, according to the best reports, has 
been as follows r 1 



Date. 



I 820- I 830 
I 830-1840 
I 884- I 890 
189I-1896 



Average Annual 

Deaths per 1000 

Negroes. 



47.6 
32.5 
3 J -25* 

28.02f 



* Including still-births ; excluding still-births, 29.52. 

f Including still-births and assuming the average Negro population, 1891-1896, at 
the low figure of 41,500.2 For this period, excluding still-births, 25.41. 

The average annual death rate, 1884 to 1890, in the 
wards having over 1000 Negro inhabitants, was as follows : 



Ward. 



Fourth 

Fifth 

Seventh 

Eighth 

Fourteenth 

Fifteenth 

Twentieth . 

Twenty-second 

Twenty-third 

Twenty-sixth 

Twenty-seventh 

Twenty-ninth 

Thirtieth 

Twenty-fourth and Thirty-fourth 



City 



39.371 





Death Rate per 


Negro 


1000, excluding 


Population. 


Still-births, 




1884-90 


2,573 


43.38 


2,335 


48.46 


8,861 


30.54 


3> 011 


29.25 


i,379 


22.^8 


i,75i 


20.I8 


i,333 


18.64 


i,798 


15-91 


1,026 


18.67 


i,375 


I8.I5 


2,077 


39.86 


1,476 


I9.O9 


1,789 


21.74 


2,003 


35-11 



29.52 



1 The earlier figures are from Dr. Emerson's reports, in the "Condition," 
etc., of the Negro, 1838, and from the pamphlet, "Health of Convicts.'' 
All the tables, 1884 to 1890, are from Dr. John Billings' report in the 
Eleventh Census. Later reports are compiled from the City Health 
Reports, 1890 to 1896. 

2 This figure is conjectural, as the real Negro population is unknown. 
Estimated according to the rate of increase from 1880 to 1890, the aver- 
age annual population would have been 42,229 ; I think this is too high, 
as the rate of increase has been lower in this decade. 



150 The Health of Negroes. [Chap. X. 

Separating the deaths by the sex of the deceased, we 
have : 

Total death rate of Negroes, 1890, (still-births 

included) 32.42 per 1000. 

For Negro males 36.02 " 

For Negro females 29.23 " 

Separating by age, we have : 

Total death rate, 1890 (still-births included) 

all ages . '. 32.42 per 1000. 

Under fifteen 69.24 " 

Fifteen to twenty 13.61 " 

Twenty to twenty-five . 14.50 " 

Twenty-five to thirty-five 15.21 " 

Thirty-five to forty-five 17.16 " 

Forty-five to fifty-five 29.41 " 

Fifty-five to sixty-five 40.09 " 

Sixty-five and over 116.49 " 

The large infant mortality is shown by the average 
annual rate of 171.44 (including still-births), for children 
under five years of age, during the years 1884 to 1890. 

These statistics are very instructive. Compared with 
modern nations the death rate of Philadelphia Negroes is 
high, but not extraordinarily so: Hungary ($5.7), Austria, 
(30.6), and Italy (28.6), had in the years 1871-90 a larger 
average than the Negroes in 1891-96, and some of these 
lands surpass the rate of 1884-90. Many things com- 
bine to cause the high Negro death rate : poor heredity, 
neglect of infants, bad dwellings and poor food. On the 
other hand the age classification of city Negroes with its 
excess of females and of young people of twenty to thirty- 
five years of age, must serve to keep the death rate lower 
than its rate would be under normal circumstances. The in- 
fluence of bad sanitary surroundings is strikingly illustrated 
in the enormous death rate of the Fifth Ward — the worst 
egro slum in the city, and the worst part of the city in 
pect to sanitation. On the other hand the low death 
te of the Thirtieth Ward illustrates the influences of 



Sect. 26.] The Statistics of the City. 151 

good houses and clean streets in a district where the better 
class of Negroes have recently migrated. 

The marked excess of the male death rate points to a 
great difference in the social condition of the sexes in the 
city, as it far exceeds the ordinary disparity ; as, e. g., in 
Germany where the rates are, males 28.6, females 25. 3- 3 
The young girls who come to the city have practically 
no chance for work except domestic service. This 
branch of work, however, has the great advantage of being 
healthful ; the servant has usually a good dwelling, good 
food and proper clothing. The boy, on the contrary, 
usually has to live in a bad part of the city, on poorly pre- 
pared or irregular food and is more exposed to the weather. 
Moreover, his chances of securing any work at all are much 
smaller than the girls'. Consequently the female death 
rate is but 81 per cent of the male rate. 

When we turn to the statistics of death according to age, 
we immediately see that, as is usual in such cases, the high 
death rate is caused by an excessive infant mortality, which 
ranks very high compared with other groups. 

The chief diseases to which Negroes fall victims are : 4 



Disease. 


Death Rate per 

100,000, 1890. 


Consumption 


532.52 
388.86 
356.67 

257.59 
203. 10 

193- 19 
133-75 

99.07 
91.64 


Pneumonia .... 




Still-births 


Diarrheal diseases , 









For the period, 1891-1896, the average annual rate was 
as follows : 



3 This and other comparisons are mostly taken from Mayo-Smith, 
"Statistics and Sociology." 
* For death-rate, 1884-1890, Cf. below, p. 159. 



*52 



The Health of Negroes. 



[Chap. X. 



Disease. 



Consumption 

Diseases of the nervous system 

Pneumonia 

Heart disease and dropsy . . 
Still and premature births . . 
Typhoid fever 



Death Rate per 

100,000, i 891-1896. 



426.50 
307-63 

290.76 
172.69 

2TO. 12 

44-98 



The strikingly excessive rate here is that of consump- 
tion, which is the most fatal disease for Negroes. Bad ven- 
tilation, lack of outdoor life for women' and children, poor 
protection against dampness and cold are undoubtedly the 
chief causes of this excessive death rate. To this must be 
added some hereditary predisposition, the influence of 

climate, and the lack of nearly all measures to prevent the 

» 

spread of the disease. 

We find thus a group of people with a high, but not 
unusual death rate, which rate has been gradually decreas- 
ing, if statistics are reliable, for seventy-five years. This 
death rate is due principally to infantile mortality and 
consumption, and these are caused chiefly by conditions of 
life and poor hereditary physique. 

How now does this group compare with the condition of 
the mass of the community with which it comes in daily 
contact? Comparing the death rates of whites and 
Negroes, we have : 



Date. 



I 820-1830 . 
I 830- I 840 . 
1884-1890* 
1891-1896! 




Negroes. 

47-6 
32.5 
3I-25 
25.41*! 



* Including still-births, 
t Excluding still-births. 

\ Assuming white population, 1891-96, has increased in the same ratio as 1880-90, and 
that it averaged 1,066,985 in these years. 

\ Assuming that the mean Negro population was 41,500. 

This shows a considerable difference in death rates, 
amounting to nearly 10 per cent in 1 884-1 890, and to 4 
per cent by the estimated rates of 1 891-1896. If the 



Sect. 26.] 



The Statistics of the City. 



153 



estimate of population on which the latter rate is based is 
correct, then the difference in death rate is not larger than 
would be expected from different conditions of life. 5 

The absolute number of deaths (excluding still-births) 
has been as follows : 



Year. 



189 1 

1892 

1893 
1894 

1395 
1896 



Whites. 



22,384 

23.233 
22,621 
21,960 
22,645 
22,903 



Negroes. 



983 
1,072 

1,034 
1,030 

1,151 
1,079 



Comparing the death rate by wards we have this table : 
Population and Death Rate, Philadelphia, 1884-90. 



Wards. 



First . . 
Second . 
Third . 
Fourth . 
Fifth . 
Sixth . 
Seventh 
Eighth . 
Ninth . 
Tenth . 
Eleventh 
Twelfth 



Population, 1890. 



White. 



53,057 
31,016 

19,043 

I7,79 2 
14,619 

8,574 
21,177 

i3.94o 
9,284 

2o,495 
12,931 
13,821 



J Colored. 



794 
522 
861 

2,573 

2,335 

125 

8,861 

3,on 

497 

798 

11 

338 



Death Rate per 1000, 
excluding Still-births. 



White. 



22.08 

23.93 
23.91 
29.98 
25.67 
24.30 
24.30 
24.26 
25.40 
19.88 
28.31 
21.57 



Colored. 



33-07 
24.21 
21.71 
43.38 
48.46 
49-77 
30.54 
2925 
22 32 

14-51 
500.00 

44-85 



5 The official figures of the Board of Health give no estimate of the 
Negro death-rate alone. They give the following death rate for the city 
including both whites and blacks, and excluding still-births: 

v Total Number Death-rate per 1000 

of Deaths. of Population. 

1891 23,367 21.85 

1892 24,305 22.25 

1893 23,655 2I.20 

1894 22,68o 19.90 

1895 23,796 20.44 

1896 23,982 20.17 

Average death-rate for the six years, 20.97; by my calculation, the 
rate for the whole population would be 21.63. 



154 



The Health of Negroes. 



[Chap. X. 



Population and Death Rate, 1884-90— Continued. 



Wards. 



Thirteenth . . . 
Fourteenth . . . 
Fifteenth . 
Sixteenth . . . 
Seventeenth . . 
Eighteenth . . . 
Nineteenth . . . 
Twentieth . . . 
Twenty-first . . 
Twenty- second . 
Twenty-third . . 
Twenty-fourth . 
Twenty-fifth . . 
Twenty-sixth . . 
Twenty-seventh 
Twenty-eighth , 
Twenty-ninth 
Thirtieth. . . . 
Thirty-first . . 
Thirt3*-second 
Thirty-third . , 
Thirty-fourth . 



* Death rate included in that of the Twenty-fourth ward. 



Population, 1890. 


excluding Still-births. 


White. 


Colored. 


White. 


Colored. 


17,362 


539 


20.67 


28.76 


i9>339 


1,379 


21-47 


22.38 


5o,954 


i,75i 


20.08 


20.18 


i6,973 


104 


28.04 


46.38 


19,412 


124 


28.89 


64.95 


29,142 


1 


24.42 


90.91 


55,249 


275 


23.73 


51-33 


43,127 


i,333 ■ 


20.77 


18.64 


26,800 


93 


19-45 


56.78 


43,512 


1,798 


17.77 


15.91 


34,255 


1,026 


18.50 


18.67 


41,600 


910 


17.95 


35.11 


35,677 


260 


24.29 


33-33 


60,722 


t,3 7 5 


19.48 


18.15 


30,712 


2,077 


31.91 


39.86 


45,727 


644 


15.56 


15.96 


53,26i 


1,476 


20.19 


19.09 


28,808 


1,789 


22.12 


21.74 


32,944 


16 


2I.46 


57-47 


29,662 


382 


I4.61 


13.66 


32,975 


190 


I3.07 


18.63 


22,628 


1,073 

39,37i 


■A - 


* 


1,006,590 


21.54 


29.52 



Death Rate per icoo, 



From this table we may make some interesting compari- 
sons ; take first the worst wards : 



Ward. 


Whites. 


Negroes.* 


Fifth 


29.98 
2567 
24.30 
24.26 


43.38 
48.46 

30.54 
29.25 


Eighth . 



* Total Negro population, 16,780. 

In all these wards there is a large Negro population com- 
prising a considerable per cent of new immigrants ; and 
these wards contain the worst slum districts and most un- 
sanitary dwellings of the city. However, there are in 
these same wards peculiar circumstances which decrease 
the death rate of the whites : First, in the Fourth and 
Fifth wards a large number of foreign immigrants whose 



Sect. 26.] 



The Statistics of the City. 



155 



death rate, on account of the absence of old people and 
children, is small ; and of Jews whose death rate is, on 
account of their fine family life, also small ; secondly, in the 
Seventh and Eighth wards there are, as all Philadelphians 
know, large sections inhabited by the best people of the 
city, with a death rate below the average. 
Taking another set of wards, we have : 



Ward. 



Fourteenth . . 
Fifteenth . . . 
Twenty-sixth . 
Twenty-seventh 
Thirtieth . . . 



Whites. 


Negroes.* 


21.47 


22.38 


20.08 


20.18 


19.48 


18.15 


3I.9I 


39.86 


22.12 


21.74 



* Total Negro population, 8,371. 

Here we have quite a different tale. These are the 
wards where the best Negro families have been renting 
and buying homes in the last ten years, in order to escape 
from the crowded down town wards. The Thirtieth and 
Twenty-sixth wards are the best sections ; the statistics of 
the Fourteenth and Fifteenth wards show the same thing 
although their validity is somewhat vitiated by the large 
number of Negro servants there in the prime of life. 

A last set of wards is as follows : 



Ward. 



Twentieth . . . 
Twenty-second 
Twenty-third . 
Twenty-eighth 
Twenty-ninth . 



Whites. 


Negroes.* 


20.77 


18.64 


17.77 
1850 
15.56 


15.91 
18.67 

15.96 


20.19 


19.09 



* Total Negro population, 6,277. 



In most of these some exceptional circumstances make 
the Negro death rate abnormally low. Generally this 
arises from the fact that these are white residential wards 
and the Negro population is largely composed of servants. 
These, as has been before noted, have a small death rate 
because of their ages, and then too, when they are sick 



i56 



The Health of Negroes. 



[Chap. X. 



they go home to die in the Seventh Ward, or to the hos- 
pitals in the Twenty-seventh and other wards. 

These tables would seem to adduce considerable proof 
that the Negro death rate is largely a matter of condition 
of living. 

When we look at the comparative deaths of the races, 
by sex, we see that the forces operating among Negroes to 
make a disparity between the death rates of men and 
women are largely absent among the whites. 



Sex. 



White. 



Negro. 



Total. 



Male . . 
Female 



23-85 
20.79 



36.02 
29.23 



24.30 
21.12 



(1890, including still-births.) 

The age structure reveals partially the character of the 
great differences in death rate between the races. (See 
page 157.) 



Death Rate 


of Philadelphia by Age 

RATE PER 1000 — 


Periods, 


FOB 


. 189 


0. 


AGE PER50DS 


| UNDER 

10 


10-20 


20-30 


3040 


4<h50 


50-60 


60-70 


70-80 


80-90 


90100 


100-110 


110120 


UNDER 15 






























15 — 20 




























20—25 
























25—35 


t 
1 






















35 —4-5 


1 1 























4-6 — 55 






















■1 
1 


55 — 65 






















1 





65&0VER 
















< 
1 
• 1 1 1 





(STILL BIRTHS INCLUDED) 
NEGROES [2j WHITES 



Sect. 26.] 



T/ie Statistics of the City. 



1 57 



00 

1 
-* 

CO 
00 



to 
W 
C 

I* 
« 



M 

w 

Q 
<! 
•4 

M 

w 

Ph 



to 

w 

M 
«< 

W 

Q 

o 

(A 

W 

§ 



1 *S 






00NIONNl/)inH«01OM«t*0HONON 



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10 pi CM CM 1-1 



<3 bo 
«1 



u-) >h NO lONO t"» -+00 -'VO (JMOOVO rtN to r^vo r-- 
NO "*■ CONO 10 -4-00 M r-»00 O IO N -tf- IO -3" N CM IO CO 

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P a 






~ 11 



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a; u o 

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B -*-i B 
ii.Jj "g "So i; p j3 O 



S-^0^ J5 & ^X^ &•§ & IS *x S.J5 feS g 



158 



The Health of Negroes. 



[Chap. X, 



Death Rate in Phii.adei.phia, 1890, by Eight Age Periods. 



Color. 



Total whites 

Total male whites . . 
Total female whites . 

Total Negroes .... 
Total male Negroes . 
Total female Negroes \ 

Native whites .... 
Native white males . 
Native white females 



< 


u 




1 
H 


10 

1 



1 

m 

0) 


10 

1 

in 

CO 




in 

m 

m 


5 « 

TO f> 

go 


22.28 

23-85 
20.79 


34-89 

37-22 

32.51 


6.17 
6.49 
5.89 


8.81 

10.12 
7.64 


IO.85 
II.28 
IO.43 


13.60 
I5-30 
II. 91 


18.98 
20.85 
17.20 


3I.56 
36.44 
27.42 


88.88 
93-51 
85-35 


3242 
36.02 
29.23 


69.24 
75-8i 
63.12 


I3.6I 
I5.0I 

12.66 


14.50 

19-75 
10.46 


15.21 
14.12 
16.24 


17.16 
20.52 
13-55 


29.41 
33-67 
25.48 


40.09 
47.70 
34-57 


116 49 

155-26 

96.47 


22.80 

2443 
21.25 


36.84 
39-37 
34-25 


6.20 

6-34 
6.07 


8.64 
965 
7.70 


IO.74 
10.95 
10.55 


12.55 
13-73 
H-43 


17.85 
19.44 

16.35 


29.61 
3404 
25.82 


89.23 
98.66 
82.78 



For children under five, including still-births, we find 
these average annual death rates, 1 884-1 890: 



Race. 


City. 


Seventh Ward. 


Native white 


94.00 
171.44 


III.04 
188.82 






94.79 


I3 2 -63 



Nothing shows more plainly the poor home life of the 
Negroes than these figures. A comparison of the differ- 
ences in death rate from various diseases will complete the 
picture : 

Death Rate per 100,000 from Specified Diseases, 1890. 

For Whole City. 



Disease. 



Consumption 

Pneumonia 

Diarrheal diseases 

Diseases of the nervous system 
Diphtheria and croup .... 
Diseases of the urinary system 
Heart disease and dropsy . , 

Cancer and tumor 

Disease of the liver 

Malarial fever 

Typhoid fever 

Still-births 

Suicides 

Other accidents and injuries . 



Negro. 



White. 



532.52 


269.42 


356.67 


180.31 


191.19 


151.40 


388.86 


302.01 


44-58 


82.06 


133.75 


60 8r 


257-59 


157.16 


37-15 


5663 


12.38 


27.82 


7-43 


5.66 


91.64 


72.82 


203. 10 


I35-6I 


3.20 


12.99 


99.07 


78.78 



Sect. 26.] 



The Statistics of the City. 



159 



Avkragr Annual, Death Rate of Philadelphia, 1884-1890, per 
each 100,000 of Population. 

For Specified Diseases. 



Causes. 



All causes 

Scarlet fever .... 

Typhoid fever . . . . 

Malarial fever .... 

Diphtheria 

Croup 

Diarrheal diseases . . 

Consumption .... 

Pneumonia 

Measles 

Whooping-cough . . 

Cancer and tumor . . 

Heart disease and 
dropsy ..... 

Childbirth and puer- 
peral diseases . . . 

Diseases of liver . . 
nervous system 
urinary organs 

Old age 

Still births . . . 

All other causes . . . 

Unknown . ... 







Whites. 




Total. 










Total. 


Native. 


Foreign. 


2303.43 


2269.19 


2562.31 


1470.26 


26.18 


26.86 


35.84 


2-39 


69-35 


69.65 


73.IO 


60.25 


7.21 


7.I9 


8.22 


4-37 


50.48 


51.48 


69.3O 


2.92 


47.82 


49-°3 


66.4I 


1.66 


1 56.1 1 


155.30 


I96.16 


43-94 


297.87 


287.06 


299.29 


253-72 


164.17 


158.77 


174.79 


115.13 


IO.67 


10.67 


14.37 


.60 


11.39 


10.69 


14-52 


.27 


54-73 


55-17 


48.15 


74-30 


146.27 


142.10 


37-44 


154-83 


IO.06 


9.98 


9.61 


11.00 


27.58 


28.32 


24.70 


38.18 


318.83 


315-86 


373-38 


I59-07 


74.90 


73-44 


72.54 


75.89 


46.08 


45-99 


37.13 


70.12 


II7.68 


115.38 


157.72 


. . . . 


656.OI 


646.23 


743-50 


381.10 


I0.02 


10.02 


10.19 


9-54 



Negro. 



3124.81 

9.82 

62.3 r 

7.68 

26.46 

18.78 

I95.40 

557-36 

293.62 

10.67 

28.17 

44-38 

246.25 

H-95 

9.82 

390.07 

1 10. 1 1 

48.23 
172.84 
890.67 

10.24 



The Negroes exceed the white death rate largely in con- 
sumption, pneumonia, diseases of the urinary system, heart 
disease and dropsy, and in still-births ; they exceed moder- 
ately in diarrheal diseases, diseases of the nervous system, 
malarial and typhoid fevers. The white death rate exceeds 
that of Negroes for diphtheria and croup, cancer and tumor, 
diseases of the liver, and deaths from suicide. 

We have side by side and in intimate relationship in a 
large city two groups of people, who as a mass differ con_ 
siderably from each other in physical health ; the differ- 
ence is not so great as to preclude hopes of final adjust- 
ment ; probably certain social classes of the larger group 
are in no better health than the mass of the smaller group. 
So too there are without doubt classes in the smaller group 
whose physicial condition is equal to, or superior to the 



160 The Health of Negroes. [Chap. X. 

average of the larger group. Particularly with regard to 
consumption it must be remembered that Negroes are not 
the first people who have been claimed as its peculiar vic- 
tims ; the Irish were once thought to be doomed by that 
disease — but that was when Irishmen were unpopular. 

Nevertheless, so long as any considerable part of 
the population of an organized community is, in its 
mode of life and physical efficiency distinctly and no- 
ticeably below the average, the community must suffer. 
The suffering part furnishes less than its quota of 
workers, more than its quota of the helpless and 
dependent and consequently becomes to an extent a burden 
on the community. This is the situation of the Negroes 
of Philadelphia to-day : because of their physical health 
they receive a larger portion of charity, spend a larger 
proportion of their earnings for physicians and medicine, 
throw on the community a larger number of helpless 
widows and orphans than either they or the city can afford. 
Why is this ? Primarily it is because the Negroes are as 
a mass ignorant of the laws of health. One has but to visit 
a Seventh Ward church on Sunday night and see an audi- 
ence of 1500 sit two and three hours in the foul atmosphere 
of a closely shut auditorium to realize that long formed 
habits of life explain much of Negro consumption and 
pneumonia ; again the Negroes live in unsanitary dwell- 
ings, partly by their own fault, partly on account of the 
difficulty of securing decent houses by reason of race 
prejudice. If one goes through the streets of the Seventh 
Ward and picks out those streets and houses which, on 
account of their poor condition, lack of repair, absence of 
conveniences and limited share of air and light, contain the 
worst dwellings, one finds that the great majority of such 
streets and houses are occupied by Negroes. In some 
cases it is the Negroes' fault that the houses are so bad ; 
but in very many cases landlords refuse to repair and refit 
for Negro tenants because they know that there are few 



Sect. 26.] The Statistics of the City. 161 

dwellings which Negroes can hire, and they will not there- 
fore be apt to leave a fair house on account of damp walls 
or poor sewer connections. Of modern conveniences 
Negro dwellings have few. Of the 2441 families of the 
Seventh Ward only 14 per cent had water closets and baths, 
and many of these were in poor condition. In a city of 
yards, 20 per cent of the families had no private yard 
and consequently no private outhouses. 

Again, in habits of personal cleanliness and taking proper 
food and exercise, the colored people are woefully defi- 
cient. The Southern field-hand was hardly supposed to 
wash himself regularly, and the house-servants were none 
too clean. Habits thus learned have lingered, and a gospel 
of soap and water needs now to be preached. Negroes are 
commonly supposed to eat rather more than necessary. And 
this perhaps is partially true. The trouble is more in the 
quality of the food than its quantity, in the wasteful method 
of its preparation, and in the irregularity in eating. 6 For in- 
stance, one family of three living in the depth of dirt and 
poverty on a crime-stricken street spent for their daily food : 

Cents. 

Milk, for child 4 

One pound pork chops 10 

One loaf bread 5 

19 
When we imagine this pork fried in grease and eaten 
with baker's bread, taken late in the afternoon or at bed- 
time, what can we expect of such a family ? Moreover, 
the tendency of the classes who are just struggling out of 
extreme poverty is to stint themselves for food in order to 
have better looking homes ; thus the rent in too many 
cases eats up physical nourishment. 

Finally, the number of Negroes who go with insufficient 
clothing is large. One of the commonest causes of 

6 Cf. Atwater & Woods: Dietary Studies with reference to the Food 
of the Negro in Alabama. (Bulletin No. 38, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture"), 
p. 21, and. passim. 

11 



1 62 The Health of Negroes. [Chap. X. 

consumption and respiratory disease is migration from the 
warmer South to a Northern city without change in manner 
of dress. The neglect to change clothing after becoming 
damp with rain is a custom dating back to slavery time. 

These are a few obvious matters of habit and manner of 
life which account for much of the poor health of Negroes. 
Further than this, when in poor health the neglect to take 
proper medical advice, or to follow it when given, leads to 
much harm. Often at the hospital a case is treated and 
temporary relief given, the patient being directed to 
return after a stated time. More often with Negroes than 
with whites, the patient does not return until he is worse 
off than at first. To this must be added a superstitious 
fear of hospitals prevalent^ among the lower classes of all 
people, but especially among Negroes. This must have 
some foundation in the roughness or brusqueness of man- 
ner prevalent in many hospitals, and the lack of a tender 
spirit of sympathy with the unfortunate patients. At any 
rate, many a Negro would almost rather die than trust 
himself to a hospital. 

We must remember that all these bad habits and sur- 
roundings are not simply matters of the present generation, 
but that many generations of unhealthy bodies have be- 
queathed to the present generation impaired vitality and 
hereditary tendency to disease. This at first seems to be 
contradicted by the reputed robustness of older generations 
of blacks, which was certainly true to a degree. There 
cannot, however, be much doubt, when former social condi- 
tions are studied, but that hereditary disease plays a large 
part in the low vitality of Negroes to-day, and the health 
of the past has to some extent been exaggerated. All these 
considerations should lead to concerted efforts to root out 
disease. The city itself has much to do in this respect. For 
so large and progressive a city its general system of drainage 
is very bad ; its water is wretched, and in many other 
respects the city and the whole State are "woefully and 



Sect. 26.] The Statistics of the City. 163 

discreditably behind almost all the other States in Christen- 
dom." 7 The main movement for reform must come from 
the Negroes themselves, and should start with a crusade 
for fresh air, cleanliness, healthfully located homes and 
proper food. All this might not settle the question of 
Negro health, but it would be a long step toward it. 

The most difficult social problem in the matter of Negro 
health is the peculiar attitude of the nation toward the 
well-being of the race. There have, for instance, been 
few other cases in the history of civilized peoples where 
human suffering has b.een viewed with such peculiar in- 
difference. Nearly the whole nation seemed delighted 
with the discredited census of 1870 because it was thought 
to show that the Negroes were dying off rapidly, and the 
country would soon be well rid of them. So, recently, 
when attention has been called to the high death-rate of 
this race, there is a disposition among many to conclude 
that the rate is abnormal and unprecedented, and that, 
since the race is doomed to early extinction, there is little 
left to do but to moralize on inferior species. 

Now the fact is, as every student of statistics knows, 
that considering the present advancement of the masses of 
the Negroes, the death rate is not higher than one would 
expect ; moreover there is not a civilized nation to-day 
which has not in the last two centuries presented a death- 
rate which equaled or surpassed that of this race. That 
the Negro death-rate at present is anything that threatens 
the extinction of the race is either the bugbear of the un- 
trained, or the wish of the timid. 

What the Negro death-rate indicates is how far this race 
is behind the great vigorous, cultivated race about it. It 
should then act as a spur for increased effort and sound 
upbuilding, and not as an excuse for passive indifference, 
or increased discrimination. 



7 Dr. Dudley Pemberton before the State Homeopathic Medical 
Society. — Philadelphia Ledger \ October 1, 1896. 



CHAPTER XL 



THE NEGRO FAMILY. 

27. The Size of the Family. — There were in the 
Seventh Ward, in 1896, 7751 members of families (includ- 
ing 171 persons living alone), and 1924 single lodgers. 1 
The average size of the family, without lodgers and 
boarders, was 3.18. 

Famiues According to Size. 



Number in Family. 



One . . 
Two . . 
Three . 
Four . . 
Five . . 
Six . . 
Seven . 
Eight . 
Nine . . 
Ten . . 
Eleven . 
Twelve 
Thirteen 
Fourteen 
Fifteen . 



Number 

of 
Families. 



171 

1,031 
470 

327 
183 
106 

76 
28 

25 

13 
2 

4 
3 

1 
1 



Total 



Lodgers 

Total population 

Average size real family 

Average size of family, including 



lodgers 



single 



Average size of census family 



2,441 



Per Cent of 
Different 

Size 
Families. 



7.0 
42.2 

44-3 



5-8 



r 0.7 



100 



Members 

of 
Families. 



171 
2,062 
I,4IO 
1,308 

915 
636 
532 
224 
225 
130 
22 
48 

39 
14 
15 



7,751 

1,924 

9,675 

3.18 

396 
5-oS 



With the whole population of the ward included, the 
average size was about four, and counting married and 

families who were lodging — and there were many — were counted as 
families, not as lodgers. They were mostly young couples with one or 
no children. The lodgers were not counted with the families because of 
their large numbers, and the shifting of many of them from month to 
month. 

(164) 



Sect. 27.] The Size of the Family. 165 

single lodgers as part of the renting family, the average 
size is about five. 2 In any case the smallness of the 
families is remarkable, and is probably due to local 
causes in the ward, to the general situation in the city 
and to development in the race at large. The Seventh 
Ward is a ward of lodgers and casual sojourners ; newly 
married couples settle down here until they are compelled, 
by the appearance of children, to move into homes of their 
own, and these in later years are being chosen in the 
Twenty-sixth, Thirtieth and Thirty-sixth wards, and up- 
town. Some couples leave their families in the South 
with grandmothers and live in lodgings here, returning to 
Virginia or Maryland only temporarily in summer or win- 
ter ; a good many men come here from elsewmere, live as 
lodgers and support families in the country ; then, too, 
childless couples often work out, the woman at service and 
the man lodging in this ward ; the woman joins her 
husband once or twice a week, but does not lodge regularly 
there, and so is not a resident of the ward ; such are the 
local conditions that affect greatly the size of families. 3 

The size of families in cities is nearly always smaller 
than elsewhere, and the Negro family follows this rule ; 
late marriages among them undoubtedly act as a check to 
population ; moreover, the economic stress is so great 
that only the small family can survive ; the large fami- 
lies are either kept from coming to the city or move 
away, or, as is most common, send the breadwinners to the 
city while they stay in the country. It is of course but 

2 This figure is obtained by dividing the total population of the ward 
by the number of homes directly rented, viz., 1675. There is an error 
here arising from the fact that some sub-renting families are really 
lodgers and should be counted with the census family, while others are 
partially separate families and some wholly separate. This error can- 
not be eliminated. 

3 The excessive infant mortality also has its influence on the average 
size of families. Cf. Chapter X. Whether infanticide or foeticide is preva- 
lent to any extent there are no means of knowiug. Once in a while such 
a case finds its way to the courts. 



1 66 



The Negro Family. 



[Chap. XI. 



conjecture to say how far these causes are working among 
the general Negro population of the country ; but consid- 
ering that the whole race has to-day begun its great battle 
for economic survival, and that few of the better class, 
male or female, can expect to get married early in life, it 
is fair to expect that for several decades to come the aver- 
age size of the Negro family will decrease until economic 
well-being can keep pace with the demands of a rising 
standard of living ; and that then we shall have another 
era of good-sized though not very large Negro families. 4 

As has before been intimated, the difficulty of earning 
income enough to afford to marrv, has had its ill-effects on 
the sexual morality of city Negroes, especially, too, since 
their hereditary training in this respect has been lax. It 
is, therefore, fair to conclude that a number of the fami- 
lies of two are simply more or less permanent cohabita- 
tions ; and that a large number of families are centres of 
irregular sexual intercourse. Observation in the ward 
bears out this conclusion, and shows that fifty-eight of the 
families of two were certainly unmarried persons. 

The result of all these causes is shown in the following 
table, although the comparison is not strictly allowable ; 
the real family of the Negroes is compared with the census 
family of other groups, and this exaggerates the proportion 
of the smaller families among the Negroes : 



Number in Family. 



One 

Two 

Two to six . . . 
Seven to ten . . 
Eleven and over 



Negroes 

Seventh 

Ward. 



7o 

7.0 
42.2 
86.5 

5-8 

0.7 



Whole 
Popula- 
tion of 
City. 



% 
I.9I 

74.67 

21.09 

2-33 



Brookl'n, 
N. Y. 



% 
2.7I 

78.37 
17.53 

i-39 



United 
States. 



% 
3.63 

73 33 
20.97 

2.07 



4 During the last ten years I have been bidden to a dozen or more wed- 
dings among the better class of Negroes. In no case was the bridegroom 
under 30, or the bride under 20. In most cases the man was about 35, 
and the woman 25 or more. 



Sect. 27.] The Size of the Family. 167 

Further comparison with France may be made : 5 



Number in Family. 



One . . . 

Two to three 
Four to five 
Six or more 



Negroes 

Seventh 

Ward. 




Making allowance for the errors of this comparison, it 
nevertheless seems true that the conditions of family life 
in the ward are abnormal and characterized by an unusu- 
ally large number of families of two persons. 

There are no statistics for the Negro families of the 
whole city such as would serve to eliminate the local 
peculiarities of the Seventh Ward. General observation 
would indicate in the Fifth and Eighth wards similar con- 
ditions to the Seventh. In most of the other wards condi- 
tions are different, and in all probability vary widely from 
these crowded central wards. Nevertheless, throughout all 
of them large families are not the rule, the number of 
bachelors and lodgers is considerable, and there is some 
cohabitation, although this is, in the city at large, much 
less prevalent than in the Seventh Ward. It would seem, 
therefore, that the indications of our study of conjugal 



5 The figures relative to other groups of city Negroes as collected by 
the conference at Atlanta University are as follows: 







M 


a 


« 




w 

M 

£ 


< 


►J 
KM 





H 
H 
O 

Pi 


C 

O 


<J 


H 


CflfH 


W 


j 


A 


< 


< 


4 


W 


i-J 






z 





H 
O 


< 


I 


6.79 


2.04 


5.10 


4.69 


4-75 


2 


20.06 


17.89 


25.51 


17.91 


19.17 


2-6 


79 63 


82.10 


83.68 


78.04 


79.85 


7-IO 


13.58 


15.45 


11.22 


17.06 


15.22 


11 and 












Over. 


O 


.41 





.21 


.18 



These figures apply to only 1137 families in the above named and other 
cities. Cf. " U. S. Bulletin of Labor," May, 1897. 



1 68 The Negro Family. [Chap. XL 

condition were here emphasized, and that the Negro urban 
home has commenced a revolution which will either purify 
and raise it or more thoroughly debauch it than now ; and 
that the determining factor is economic opportunity. The 
full picture of this change demands statistics of births and 
marriages from year to year. These unfortunately are not 
so registered as to be even partially reliable. Both the 
birth and marriage rate, however, are in all probability 
steadily decreasing. 6 The death-rate also comes in here 
as a factor, not only by reason of the great infant mortality 
but also on account of the excessive death-rate of the men. 
In all this one catches a faint glimpse of the intricacy and 
far-reaching influence of the Negro problems. 

28. Incomes. — The economic problem of the Negroes 
of the city has been repeatedly referred to. We now come 
directly to the question, What do Negroes earn? In a 
year about what is the income of an average family? 
Such a question is difficult to answer with anything like 
accuracy. Only returns based on actual written accounts 
would furnish thoroughly reliable statistics ; such accounts 
cannot be had in this case. The few that keep accounts 
would in many cases naturally be unwilling to produce 
them. On the other hand, the great mass of people in the 



6 The birth rate for the city is given in official returns as follows: 

1894. Total for city : males, 16,185; females, 14,552. Negroes: males, 
536; females, 476. 

1895. Total for city: males, 15,618; females, 14,220. Negroes: males, 
568; females, 524. 

1896. Total for city: males, 15,534; females, 14,219. Negroes: males, 
572; females 514. 

Average per year for whites, 29,013. 

Average per year for Negroes, 1,063. 

White birth rate, 27.2 per thousand. 

Negro birth rate, 25.1 per thousand. 

Assuming white population as 1,066,985. 

Assuming Negro population as 41,500. 

The Department of Health declares these returns considerably below 
the truth, and the omissions among Negroes are of course large. Never- 
theless, the Negro birth rate in Philadelphia is probably not high. 



Sect. 28.] Incomes. 169 

lower walks of life scarcely know how much they earn in 
a year. The tables here presented, therefore, must be 
regarded simply as careful estimates. These estimates are 
based on three or more of the following items : (1) The 
statement of the family as to their earnings. Some of the 
better class gave a general estimate of their average yearly 
income ; most gave the wages earned per week or month 
at their usual occupation. (2) The occupations followed 
by the several members of the family ; (3) the time lost 
from work in the last year or the time usually lost ; (4) the 
apparent circumstances of the family judging from the 
appearance of the home and inmates, the rent paid, the 
presence of lodgers, etc. 

In most cases the first item was given the greatest weight 
in settling the matter, but was modified by the others; in 
other cases, however, either this statement could not be ob- 
tained or was vague, and in a few instances evidently false. 
In such circumstances the second item was decisive : the 
occupations followed by the mass of Negroes are paid 
according to a pretty well-known scale of prices ; a hotel 
waiter's income could be pretty accurately fixed without 
further data. The third item was important in many 
occupations ; stevedores, for instance, receive generally 
twenty cents per hour ; nevertheless, few if any earn $600 
a year, because they lose much time between ships and in 
winter. Finally, as a general corrective to deception or 
inadvertence the circumstances of home life as seen by the 
investigator on his visit, the rent paid — an item which 
could be pretty accurately ascertained — the number of 
lodgers, the occupation of the housewife and children — all 
these items served to confirm or throw doubt on the con- 
clusions indicated by the other data, and were given some 
weight in the final judgment. 

Thus it can easily be seen that these returns may contain, 
and probably do contain, considerable error. On the one 
hand they cannot be as accurate as returns based on income 



170 



The Negro Family. 



[Chap. XI. 



tax reports, and on the other hand they are probably more 
reliable than data founded solely on the bare statements of 
those asked. The personal judgment of the investigator 
enters into the determination of the figures to a larger 
extent than is desirable, and yet it has been limited as 
carefully as the nature of the inquiry permitted. 7 

The income according to size of family is indicated in the 
next table. From this, making the standard a family of five, 

Incomes, According to Size oe Family in Seventh Ward, 1896. 



Amount of Income per Year. 



$ 50 ... • 

IOO .... 

150 ... . 

200 .... 

250 ... . 

300 ... . 

350 ... . 

400 . . . , 

450 .... 

500 . . . . 

550 ... . 

600 .... 

650 ... . 

700 .... 

750 

800 ... . 

8SO .. . . 

900 .... 
IOOO-I200 . 
1200-1500 . 

1500 and over 
Unknown . . 
Unknown 



Size of Family. 



7 
22 

3i 
23 
32 
10 

9 
4 
1 

7 



1 

2 

15 



5 

18 

69 

105 

95 

108 

121 

95 

79 

115 

23 

17 

45 

10 

23 
7 
3 
5 
1 

3 
6 

67 



19 
35 

46 

49 
46 

39 
40 

47 
12 

14 
26 
16 
19 

7 

2 

4 
1 

10 
10 
17 



4 
12 
26 

33 
30 
34 
26 

37 
8 
8 

27 
12 
16 

7 
1 
8 

1 

3 
12 

6 



1 
6 
8 

7 

9 
n 
22 

14 
26 

4 

7 

11 

9 
13 
3 
3 
3 
4 
5 
6 
2 



4 

4 

1 

3 
10 

9 

7 

17 
4 
3 
7 
5 
7 
2 
1 
3 

7 
5 
2 



5 
1 
2 
6 

3 
1 

1 

3 
4 
6 

9 
2 

4 
5 

o 
10 

1 



11 
to 
IS. 



of unknown size 



5 v> 



14 

45 
133 

187 

214 

213 

230 

209 

172 

256 

55 

54 

125 

63 

94 

31 
18 
40 
12 
46 

65 
no 

55 



and making some allowance for larger and smaller families, 
we can conclude that 19 per cent of the Negro families in 
the Seventh Ward earn five dollars and less per week on 
the average; 48 per cent earn between $5 and $10 ; 26 per 

7 There were many families who were undoubtedly tempted to exag- 
gerate their income so as to appear better off than they were; others, on 
the contrary, understated their resources. In most cases, however, the 
testimony so far as it went appeared to be candid and honest. 



Sect. 28.] Incomes. 

cent, $io-$i5, and 8 per cent over $15 per week. 
1 ating this we have : 



171 
Tabu- 



AVERAGE 
EARNINGS PER.WK 


No. OF FAMILIES 


/o 


COMPARISON. 


$5 S LESS 


fl92 


8.9 


VERY POOR Hr 


(228 


9.6 


poor pill 


05-10 


1088 


47.8 


F AIR j|HPIlii— 


810-15 


5 81 


25.5 


C0MFORTABl£p^|S|i§ 


$15-20 


91 


4. 


CIRCuXjW3g 


&20S0VER 


96 


4.2 


WELL-TO-DO^ 


TOTAL 


2 276 


100.00% 





It is difficult to compare this with other groups because 

of the varying meaning of the terms poor, well-to-do, and 

the like* Nevertheless, a comparison with Booth's diagram 

of London will, if not carried too far, be interesting: 8 

Poverty in London and Among the Negroes of the Seventh 

Ward oe Philadelphia. 




8.4% 8.9% 
D LONDON VERY POOR 

BNECR0ES VERY POOR 
7th WARD 



Z2.3%57.4% 5l.5%e5.5% 17.8% 8.2% 

POOR COMFORTABLE MIDDLE CLASS * ABOVE 

POOR TO FAIR COMFORTABLE , GOOD CIRCUMSTANCESCJ 



8 Cf. Booth's " Life and Labor of the People," II, 21. In this case I 



172 The Negro Family. [Chap XL 

The chief difficulty of this comparison lies in the dis- 
tribution of the population between the "poor" and "com- 
fortable ; " probably the former class among the Negroes is 
here somewhat exaggerated. At any rate, the division 
between these two grades is in the Seventh Ward much 
less stable than in London since their economic status is 
less fixed. In good times perhaps 50 per cent of the 
Negroes could well be designated comfortable, but in 
time of financial stress vast numbers of this class fall 
below the line into the poor and go to swell the number of 
paupers, and in many cases of criminals. Indeed this 
whole division into incomes of different classes is, among 
the Negroes, much less stable than among the whites, just 
as it used to be less stable among the whites of fifty years 
ago than it is among those of to-day. 

The whole division into " poor," " comfortable " and 
" well-to-do ' ' depends primarily on the standard of living 
among a people. Let us, therefore, note something of the 
income and expenditure of certain families in different 
grades. 9 The very poor and semi-criminal class are con- 
gregated in the slums at Seventh and Lombard Streets, 
Seventeenth and Lombard, and Eighteenth and Naudain, 
together with other small back streets scattered over the 
ward. They live in one and two-room tenements, scantily 
furnished and poorly lighted and heated ; they get casual 
labor, and the women do washing. The children go to 
school irregularly or loaf on the streets. This class does 
not frequent the large Negro churches, but part of them 
fill the small noisy missions. The vicious and criminal 



have combined Booth's two lower classes, "lowest " and " very poor.'* I 
shall discuss the criminal and lowest class in Chapters XIII and XIV. 
The separation of the " poor" and " very poor" in the Seventh Ward is 
somewhat arbitrary. I have called all those receiving $150 and less a 
year " very poor." 

9 Only a few reliable budgets are subjoined, and they are typical. A 
large number might have been gathered, but they would hardly have 
added much to these. 



Sect. 28.] Incomes. 173 

portion do not usually go to church. Those of this class 
who are poor but decent are next-door neighbors usually 
to pronounced criminals and prostitutes. The income and 
expenditure of some of these families follow. 

Family No. 1 lives in one of the worst streets of the 
ward, surrounded by thieves and prostitutes. There are 
three persons in the family: a woman of thirty-four, with 
a son of sixteen and a second husband of twenty-six. Both 
the husband and son are out of work, the former being a 
waiter and the latter a bootblack. They live in one filthy 
room, twelve feet by fourteen, scantily furnished and 
poorly ventilated. The woman works at service and 
receives about three dollars a week. They pay twelve dol- 
lars a month for three rooms, and sub-rent two of them to 
other families, which makes their rent about three dollars. 

Their food costs them about $1.00 a week and the fuel 
56 cents a week during the winter. Their expenditure for 
other items is varying and indefinite ; beer, however, 
comes in for something. Their whole expenditure is 
probably $125-^150 a year, of which the woman earns at 
least $100. 

Family No. 2 has a yearly budget as follows for two 
persons : 

Rent, @ $4 a month $48 00 

Food — Bread, pork, tea, etc., @ $1.44 a week ... 74 88 
Fuel, 20-47 cents a week 16 60 

$139 48 
Other items would bring this up to about $150 to $175. 
Family No. 3, consisting of one person, reports the fol- 
lowing budget, not including rent : 

Food $30 00 

Fuel 15 00 

Clothing 10 00 

Amusements 1 50 

Sickness, etc 10 00 

Other purposes 15 00 

Total, per year $81 50 



174 The Negro Family. [Chap. XL 

The rent of such a family would not exceed $40, mak- 
ing the total expenditure about $121.50. 

Family No. 4 — four persons — man and wife and two 
babies, living in one room, spend as follows : 

Rent, @ $3 a month $36 00 

Food— Weekly: milk $0 28 

pork 70 

bread 35 

1 33 69 16 
Fuel, 20-98 cents a week 18 co 

$123 16 

The man has work one and one-half weeks in the month 
as a wire fence maker, when regularly employed, which is 
about half the time. The rest of the time he takes care 
of the babies while his wife works at service. The last two 
families seem respectable, but unfortunate. The other two 
are doubtful. 

The " poor " are a degree above these cases ; they are 
composed of the inefficient, unfortunate and improvident, 
and just manage to get enough to eat, a little to wear, and 
shelter. A specimen family is composed of six persons — 
man and wife, a widowed daughter, two grandsons of 
thirteen and eleven, and a nephew of twenty-eight. They 
live in three rooms, with poor furniture and of fair clean- 
liness. The father and nephew are laborers, often out of 
work. The mother does day's work and the daughter is at 
service. They spend for : 

Rent — $8 per month $ 96 00 

Food — $2.16 a week 112 32 

Fuel— 50-84 cents a week ....•*...... 31 20 

$239 52 

Clothing, etc., will bring this total to $250 $275. This 
is an honest family, belonging to one of the large Baptist 
churches. 



Sect. 28.] Incomes. 175 

Family No. 5, a mother and child, expends for 

Food $ 96 00 

Fuel . 30 00 

Clothing 30 00 

Amusements 10 00 

Sickness 15 00 

Other purposes 25 00 

Total $206 00 

To this must be added house-rent, bringing the total to 
$250 or $275. 

We next come to the great hard-working laboring class 
— the 47 per cent of the population which is, on the whole, 
most truly representative of the mass. They live in houses 
with three to six rooms, nearly always well furnished ; 
they spend considerable for food and dress, and for churches 
and beneficial societies. They are honest and good-natured 
for the most part, but are not used to large responsibility. 

No. 6, a family of three from this class — man, wife and 
seventeen-year-old son — earn and spend as follows : 



Income. 

Man — hod-carrier and la- 
borer, $i.25-$2.oo a day — 
casual — averages $3.00 a 
week $150 00 

Wife — washerwoman, Oct. 
to Mch., earns $5.00 to 
$6.00 a week, rest of year 
$ 1. 50-$2. 00, average, $3.50, 180 00 

Son — porter in office build- 
ing, $2.50 per week and 
board 6 days 125 00 



#455 00 



Expense. 

Rent, $22.00 a month, of 
which $14.00 is repaid by 
lodgers — net rent, $8.00 $96 00 

Food — $3.5o-$4.oo a week 190^00 

Fuel 35 00 



$321 00 



Clothing and all other pur- 
poses, and savings . . . 134 00 



#455 00 



This family occupies a seven-room house, but rents out 
three of the rooms to lodgers. They have a nicely fur- 
nished parlor. 



176 



m 



The Negro Family. 



[Chap. XL 



Three other families of the same class follow : 
No. 7. Expenditure for one year, $338 (not including 
rent). Number in family, adults 2, chidren 2. 

Food $110 00 

Fuel 40 00 

Clothing 50 00 

Amusements 35 00 

Sickness 40 00 

Other purposes 63 00 

No. 8. Expenditure for One Year, #520.00. 
Number in Family, Adults j, Children 2. 



Expenditure for 


3 

V 


*-> 

a 


8 




Expenditure for 


Weekly. 


s 

■*■> 

a 


8 


cfl 


Rent 




$16 00 
16 00 


$192 00 

192 OO 

34 00 

60 00 


Amusements . . 






$2 


Food . 


$4 00 


Sickness and d'th 
All other purposes 






IO OO 


Fuel 






30 OO 


Clothing .... 



















No. 9. Expenditure for One Year, About $600 00. 
Number in Family, Adults 2, Children 7. 



Expenditure for 


Weekly. 


3 

*-> 

5 
8 




Expenditure for 


3 

u 


3 

■4-> 

a 



8 


u 

V 

>< 


Rent 






$200 00 

240 00 

72 00 


Clothing 




5 00 


60 OO 


Food 


f 5 00 
I 50 


$20 00 

6 00 


All other purposes 




$28 00 









Three other budgets are appended, representing a still 
better class : 

No. 10. 

Total income, $840.00. 

Rent $192 00 

Food 260 00 

Fuel 50 00 

Clothing 25 00 

Amusements 15 00 



$542 00 

This is a small family — mother and daughter — who are 
evidently saving money. The daughter is a teacher. 



Sect. 28.] Incomes. 177 

No. 11. Total expenditure, exclusive of rent, $683. 

Food $378 00 

Fuel 45 00 

Clothing 100 00 

Amusements 20 00 

Sickness 50 00 

Other purposes 90 00 

There are four adults and three children in this family. 
No. 12. Total expenditure, exclusive of rent, $805. 

Food $420 00 

Fuel ' 60 00 

Clothing 150 00 

Amusements 20 00 

Sickness 5 00 

Travel, and other purposes 150 00 

This is one of the best families in the city; they keep 
one servant. There are three adults and two children in 
the family. 

The class to which these last families belong-, is often 
lost sight of in discussing the Negro. It is the germ of a 
great middle class, but in general its members are curiously 
hampered by the fact that, being shut off from the world 
about them, they are the aristocracy of their own people, 
with all the responsibilities of an aristocracy, and yet they, 
on the one hand, are not prepared for this role, and their 
own masses are not used to looking to them for leadership. 
As a class they feel strongly the centrifugal forces of class 
repulsion among their own people, and, indeed, are com- 
pelled to feel it in sheer self-defence. They do not. relish 
being mistaken for servants ; they shrink from the free and 
easy worship of most of the Negro churches, and they 
shrink from all such display and publicity as will expose 
them to the veiled insult and depreciation which the 
masses surfer. Consequently this class, which ought to 
lead, refuses to head any race movement on the plea that 
thus they draw the very color line against which they 
protest. On the other hand their ability to stand 
12 



178 The Negro Family, [Chap. XL 

apart, refusing on the one hand all responsibility for the 
masses of the Negroes and on the other hand seeking no 
recognition from the outside world, which is not willingly 
accorded — their opportunity to take such a stand is hin- 
dered by their small economic resources. Even more than 
the rest of the race they feel the difficulty of getting on in 
the world by reason of their small opportunities for remu- 
nerative and respectable work. On the other hand their 
position as the richest of their race — though their riches 
is insignificant compared with their white neighbors — 
makes unusual social demands upon them. A white Phila- 
delphian with $1500 a year can call himself poor and live 
simply. A Negro with $1500 a year ranks with the richest 
of his race and must usually spend more in proportion than 
his white neighbor in rent, dress and entertainment. 

In every class thus reviewed there comes to the front a 
central problem of expenditure. Probably few poor 
nations waste more money by thoughtless and unreason- 
able expenditure than the American Negro, and especially 
those living in large cities like Philadelphia. First, they 
waste much money in poor food and in unhealthful methods 
of cooking. The meat bill of the average Negro family 
would surprise a French or German peasant or even an 
Englishman. The crowds that line Lombard street on 
Sundays are dressed far beyond their means ; much money 
is wasted in extravagantly furnished parlors, dining-rooms, 
guest chambers and other visible parts of the homes. 
Thousands of dollars are annually wasted in excessive 
rents, in doubtful " societies " of all kinds and descriptions, 
in amusements of various kinds, and in miscellaneous 
ornaments and gewgaws. All this is a natural heritage of 
a slave system, but it is not the less a matter of serious 
import to a people in such economic stress as Negroes now 
are. The Negro has much to learn of the Jew and Italian, 
as to living within his means and saving every penny from 
excessive and wasteful expenditures. 



Sect. 29.] Property. 179 

29. Property. — We must next inquire what part of these 
incomes have been turned into real property. Philadelphia 
keeps no separate account of her white and Negro real 
estate owners and it is very difficult to get reliable data on 
the subject. Even the house-to-house inquiry could but 
approximate the truth on account of the number of houses 
owned by Negroes but rented out through white real estate 
agents. From the returns it appears that 123 of the 2441 
families in the Seventh Ward or 5.3 per cent own property 
in that ward ; seventy-four other families own property 
outside the ward, making in all 197 or 8 per cent of the 
families who are property holders. It is possible that 
omissions may raise this total to 10 per cent. The total 
value of this property is partly conjectural but a careful 
estimate would place it at about $1,000,000, or 4^ per 
cent of the valuation of a ward where the Negroes form 
42 per cent of the population. 

Two estimates for the whole city represent the holdings 
of the well-to-do Negroes, that is, those having $10,000 
and more of property, as follows : 10 

From $ 10,000 to $ 15,000 27 

" 15,000 to 25,000 10 

" 25,000 to 50,000 11 

" 50,000 to 100,000 4 

1 ' 100,000 to 500,000 I 

53 

In all, these persons represent an ownership of at least 
$1,500,000. The other property holders can only be 
estimated ; the total ownership of property by Philadelphia 
Negroes must be at least five millions, not including 

10 These estimates are by lifelong residents of Philadelphia, who have 
had unusual opportunity of knowing the men of whom they speak. One 
says, " I have . . . prepared an estimate which I herein enclose. I 
have endeavored to be as conservative as possible. There are, doubtless, 
several omitted because they are not known, or if known are not now 
thought of; but I believe the estimate is approximately correct." 



180 The Negro Family, [Chap. XI. 

church property. Comparing this with estimates in the 
past, we have : u 

182 1, real estate," assessed value, 1112,464; real value, $281,162 

1832, " « " " 357,ooo 

1838, " " " " 322,532 

1848, " " " " 531,809 

1855, real and personal estate " " 2,685,693 

1898, " " " "...... " " 5,000,000 

In 1849 the returns of the investigation showed that 7.4 
per cent of the Negroes in the county owned property, 
and 5.5 per cent in the city proper, compared with 5.3 per 

11 The figures for 1821 are from assessors' reports, quoted in the investi- 
gation of 1838. The figures for 1832 are from a memorial to the Legisla- 
ture, in which the Negroes say that by reference to the receipts of tax- 
payers which were "actually produced," they paid at least $2500 in taxes, 
and had also $100,000 in church property. From this the inquiry of 1838 
estimates that they owned $357,000 outside church property. The same 
study estimates the property of Negroes in 1838 as follows: 

Real Instate (true value). Personal Property. 

City $241,962 $505,322 

Northern Liberties 26,700 35,539 

Kensington 2,255 3> 82 5 

Spring Garden 5,935 21,570 

Southwark 15,355 26,848 

Moyamensing 30,3 2 5 74,755 

$322,532 $667,859 

Encumbrances 12,906 

$309,626 

The report says: " This amount must, of course, be received as only an 
approximation of the truth." Fifteen church edifices, a cemetery and 
hall are not included in the above. " Condition," etc., 1838. pp. 7, 8. 

The investigation in 1847-48, gave the following results: 

Value Real Estate. Encumbrances. 

City $368,842 $78,421 

Spring Garden 27,150 11,050 

Northern Liberties 40,675 13,440 

Southwark 3^544 5,9 J 5 

Moyamensing 5 I ,973 20,216 

West Philadelphia 11,625 1,400 

$531,809 $130,442 



Sect. 29.] 



Property. 



181 



cent in the Seventh Ward to-day. In this comparison, 
however, we must consider the enormous increase in the 
value of Philadelphia real estate. 



This property was distributed as follows: 



City 

Spring Garden . . 
Northern Liberties 
Southwark . . . . 
Moyamensing . . . 
West Philadelphia . 



Whole Num- 
ber Heads of 
Families. 



2562 
272 
202 
287 
866 
73 



4262 



Owners of 
Real Estate. 



141 
44 
23 
30 
52 
25 



315 



Per Cent. 



5-5 
16. 1 

«.3 

10.4 

6.0 

34-4 



7-4 



The occupations of the 315 freeholders was as follows: 

78 laborers. 
49 traders. 
41 mechanics. 

35 coachmen and hackmen. 
28 waiters. 
20 barbers. 
11 professional men. 
53 females. 

315 
The personal property was as follows: 
















< 




h 




fc 




3 


M 

(0 


M 
H 




fc 




fc w 


« E 


<i 


fc 


H ^ 


H 


t> 




>-> Q 


«£ 


£ 


H 


S w 


<l 





M 


« X 


H 9 


w 


S 


£a 


H 


a 


O 


,%< 


Si 


H 


< 


£■4 


O 


< 




tc 


£« 

^h? 


P 
O 
CO 


J* 
O 


M 


H 


Under $25. 


570 


66 


62 




259 


5 




$25-^50. 


772 


79 


102 




l6o 


16 




$5o-$ioo. 


404 


38 


63 




J 34 


9 




$ioo-$5oo. 


650 


19 


83 


I02 


291 


42 




$500-$20,000. 


156 




5 


2 


5 


1 




No Estate. 


6 

$455,620 








15 






Total perso- 
nal property. 


$9,562 


$34,o44 


^30,402 


$90,553 


$12,065 


$632,246 


Average. 


$178.63 


$47-33 


$108.07 


$105.30 


$106.63 


$r5L57 


$147-52 



Statistical Inquiry, etc., p. 15. 



1 82 The Negro Family. [Chap. XI. 

Taking the heads of the 123 families known to live in 
the Seventh Ward and to own real estate we find that they 
were born as follows : 

Philadelphia 41 = 41 = 33^ per cent. 

Pennsylvania 7 * 

Maryland 22 

Virginia . 21 

?™ th ' * " *3 \ 82 = 66% per cent. 

Delaware and New Jersey .... £ 

Other parts of United States and 

abroad 7 j 

Unknown 4 J 

123 



A comparison between 1838 and 1848 was made by Needles' " Pro- 
gress," etc., pp. 8, 9. 

1837. 1847. Increase. 

Real estate, less incumbrances . $309,626 $401,362 $91,736 
House and water rents .... 161,482 200,697 39,225 

Taxes 3,253 6,308 3,056 

The Inquiry of 1856, pp. 15, 16, declares that the previous year the 
Negroes owned: 

Real and personal property (true value) $2,685,693.00 

Taxes paid - 9,766.42 

House, water and ground rent 396,782.27 

A detailed estimate for 1897 gives the following: 

Value of Estate. Number of Estates. Total. 

$250,000-^500,000 I ... = ., . $350,000 

100,000 I ..- = .. . 100,000 

80,000 I .;. = .. . 80,000 

75,000 1... = ... 75,000 

60,000 I ..==... 60,000 

40,000 4 ... = .. . 160,000 

35,ooo 3 . . . = . . . 105,000 

30,000 4 ... = .. . 120,000 

20,000 IP ... = ;. . 200,000 

15,000 II ... = .. . 165,000 

10,000 16 ... = .. . 160,000 



52 #i,575>ooo 

The total of $1,575,000 is the estimated wealth of the well-to-do. 
This estimate is as reliable as can be obtained, and is probably not far 
from the real facts. 



Sect. 29.] 



Property. 



183 



The eighty-two not born in Philadelphia have lived there 
as follows : 

Over 2 and under 10 years 5 

10 to 14 years . . . . „ 7 



15 to 19 
20 to 24 
25 to 29 
30 to 34 
35 to 39 
40 to 44 
45 to 49 
50 to 54 
60 years and over 



7 

14 
8 
8 
16 
4 
3 
3 
3 



Unknown 4 



82 



Nineteen have lived less than twenty years in the city 
and fifty-nine, twenty years or more. 

The occupations of the 123 property owners were as 
follows : 



Caterers 22 

Waiters 12 

Porters and Janitors 10 

Housewives 9 

Laundresses 8 

Mechanics 7 

Coachmen 6 

Clerks in public service .... 4 

Drivers and teamsters .... 4 

Upholsterers 3 

Employment agents 3 

Merchants 3 

Stewards 3 

Ministers 3 

Hod-carriers and laborers ... 2 

Policemen and watchmen . . 2 



Hotel keepers and restaura- 
teurs 3 

Cooks 2 

Undertakers 2 

School-teachers 2 

Barbers 2 

Physicians 2 

Shrouder of dead 1 

Newspaper publisher 1 

Real estate dealer 1 

Sexton 1 

No occupation * 3 

Unknown 2 

123 



This shows that the real estate owners are either Phila- 
delphia born or old residents and that the mass of them 
are caterers and house-servants, with a sprinkling of those 
representing the newer employments as clerks in public 
service, merchants, and the like. 



184 The Negro Family. [Chap. XI. 

Of these one hundred and twenty-three families 

62 own the houses they occupy. 

20 own the houses they occupy, and also other real estate in 
the city. 
7 own the houses they occupy, own other real estate in the 

city, and also own real estate elsewhere. 
5 own homes outside the city, and other real estate else- 
where. 
22 own real estate in the city. 
7 own real estate in the city and elsewhere also. 

In other words, 89 own homes in the city, and 34 own 
real estate somewhere. 

Returns from forty of these holders indicate a total hold- 
ing of $250,000, or if we add in one large estate, $650,000. 
Other less definite but fairly reliable returns raise the total 
ownership of property in the Seventh Ward to $1,000,000 
or more. Sixty-three of the seventy-four owning property 
outside the city report $49,010 in real estate. 12 In none 
of these returns has there been any account of the mort- 
gage indebtedness taken, nor is there any means of ascer- 
taining this debt. 13 

On the whole the statistics show comparatively few 
Negro property holders in Philadelphia. In a city where 
the percentage of home owners is unusually large, over 94 
per cent of the Negroes appear from the imperfect returns 
available to be renters. There are several reasons for this : 
first, the Negroes distrust all saving institutions since 
the fatal collapse of the Freedmen's Bank ; secondly, they 
have difficulty in buying homes in decent neighborhoods ; 
thirdly, the rising price of real estate, and the falling off of 
wage and industrial opportunity for the Negro must be 
taken into account. Finally a curious effect of color 



12 There is more property than this owned, but only the answers that 
seemed reliable and definite were recorded. Most of this property is in 
the country districts of the South. 

13 Many efforts were made to get official data on the matter of property, 
but the authorities had no way of even approximately distinguishing the 
races. 



Sect. 29.] Property. 185 

prejudice, to be discussed later, has had enormous influence 
in concentrating Negro population in localities where it was 
hard to buy homes. All these are cogent reasons, and yet 
they are not enough to excuse the Negroes from not buying 
much more property than they have. Much of the money 
that should have gone into homes has gone into costly 
church edifices, dues to societies, dress and entertainment. 
If the Negroes had bought little homes as persistently as 
they have worked to develop a church and secret society 
system, and had invested more of their earnings in savings- 
banks and less in clothes they would be in a far better 
condition to demand industrial opportunity than they are 
to-day. 

This does not mean that the Negro is lazy or a spend- 
thrift ; it simply means misdirected energies which cause 
the Negro people yearly to waste thousands of dollars in 
rents and live in poor homes when they might with proper 
foresight do much better. 

There are some signs of awakening to this fact among 
the Negroes. Lately they are just beginning to understand 
and profit by the Building and L,oan Associations. Forty- 
one families in the Seventh Ward, or about 2 per cent, 
belong now to such associations and the number is increas- 
ing. Outside the Seventh Ward as large and probably a 
larger percentage belong to co-operative home buying 
societies. The peculiar phenomenon among the colored 
people, however, is the wide development of beneficial and 
secret orders. Three hundred and six families, or 17 per 
cent of the Negroes of the ward, are reported as belonging 
to beneficial societies and probably 25 per cent or more 
actually belong. Beside these there are the petty insurance 
societies, to which 102 1 families or 42 per cent belong. 
In more prosperous times this membership may reach 50 or 
60 per cent or a total of at least 4000 men, women and 
children. The beneficial and secret societies, being organ- 
izations of Negroes, will be spoken of later. The petty 



1 86 



The Negro Family. 



[Chap. XL 



insurance societies are for the most part conducted by 
whites. Some of these are reliable enterprises, and by 
careful management and honest dealing do something to 
encourage the saving spirit among the Negroes. It is 
doubtful, however, if they form the best kind of incentive, 
and probably they stand in the way of the savings-bank 
and building association. Only a few deserve this quali- 
fied approval. The large majority are little better than 
licensed gambling operations ; it is a disgrace that a great 
municipality allows them to prey upon the people in the 
manner they do. 14 They usually rest on no sound business 
principles ; they take any and all risks, generally without 
medical examination and depend on lapses in payments 
and bold cheating to make money. Even the best conducted 
of these societies have to depend on the unreturned contribu- 
tions of persons who cannot keep up their payments, to 
make both ends meet. 

There were in 1897 thirty-one insurance societies doing 
business in the Seventh Ward. The following table gives 
the weekly premiums required for sick and death benefits 
in one society : 

Rates and Death Benefits. 
Weekly Dues for Benefits Payable at Death only. 



Age. 



12-15 

15-25 
25-30 
30-35 
35-4o 

4o-45 
45-5o 
5o-53 
53-55 
55-58 
58-60 



$100 


$200 


Benefit. 


Benefit. 


$0.04 


$0.07 


.05 


.09 


.06 


.11 


.07 


•13 


.08 


.15 


.IO 


.18 


.12 


•23 


.14 


.26 


.15 


.28 


.18 


•35 


.20 


•39 



14 For an account of a partial investigation of this subject and some 
attempts at reform, see "Report of Citizens' Permanent Relief Committee, 
etc. , 1893-4," pp. 31, ff. Cf. Also the work of the Star Kitchen at Seventh 
and Lombard streets, Philadelphia. 



Sect. 29.] 



Property. 



187 



This is at the rate of $46.80 to $52 for a $1000 life 
policy at the age of 43, which can be had in regular com- 
panies for about $35. The excess represents the expense 
of collection and the gambler's risk. 

Sickness and Accident Benefits. 
Weekly Dues for Specified Sums per Week. 

Age next Birthday. 



I2-20 
20-25 
25-30 
30-35 
35-40 
40-43 
43-45 
45-48 
48-50 
50-53 
53-55 
55-58 
58-60 



$4.00. 


$5.00. 


$6.00. 


$7.00. 


$8.00. 


#10 


.10 


•13 


.16 


•19 


.22 




.11 


.14 


• 17 


.20 


-23 




.12 


•15 


.18 


.21 


.24 




.14 


.17 


.20 


•23 


.26 




.15 


' .18 


.2r 


.24 


.27 




.17 


.20 


•23 


.26 


•29 




.18 


.21 


.24 


.27 


•30 




•19 


.22 


• 25 


.28 


•3i 




.20 


.23 


.26 


•29 


•32 




.22 


.25 


.28 


•31 


•34 




•23 


.26 


•29 


•32 


•35 




.24 


.27 


.30 


•33 


•37 




.28 


.31 


•34 


•37 


.41 


• 



25 
26 

27 
29 
30 
32 

33 
34 
35 
37 
38 
4i 
44 



Children — Age, 2 to 11 years. 

Amount payable to children after their certificates have been issued for 
the following periods: 

Three months, one-third; six months, one-half; nine months, three- 
fourths; one year, full amount. 

Death benefits, $40. 

Weekly dues, 5 cents. 

Upon payment of 10 cents weekly dues, children from six to eleven 
years will be paid weekly sick benefits of $2.50. 

Membership fee for children, 50 cents. 

Membership fee for adults, $1. 

Into these companies a large part of the income of many 
families goes. For instance, let us examine the expendi- 
tures of certain actual families for such insurance, remem- 
bering that the total income of these families is in most 
cases $20 to $40 a month. 

Monthly. 

i. A family of 2 adults and 2 children (stevedore) . . #3 29 

2. A family of 2 adults have for 10 years paid .... 1 00 

3. A family of 4 adults 2 20 

4. A family of 4 adults 2 40 

5. A family of 1 adult and 1 child 2 00 

6. A family of 4 adults 1 84 



1 88 The Negro Family, [Chap. XL 

Monthly. 

7. A family of 1 adult $2 57 

8. A family of 2 adults (waiter) 2 20 

9. A family of 2 adults (servant) 1 50 

10. A family of 5 adults and 2 children (laborer) ... 3 00 

11. A family of 2 adults and 3 children (stevedore) . . 1 44 

12. A family of 9 adults and 1 child 5 00 

13. A family of 8 adults and 4 children 4 20 

14. A family of 9 adults 4 43 

15. A family of 2 adults 2 50 

16. A family of 2 adults (stevedore) 3 00 

17. A family of 2 adults (stevedore) . . ' 3 00 

18. A family of 10 adults 8 50 

19. A family of 2 adults, 1 child (stevedore) . . . 5 00 

20. A family of 5 adults, 1 child 5 00 

21. A family of 3 adults 3 90 

22. A family of 4 adults, 1 child (laborer) 5 00 

23. A family of 2 adults, 3 children (waiter) . . ... 4 60 

It is impossible to get accurate returns as to the total 
amount spent by the Negroes of the Seventh Ward for in- 
surance in such societies, but answers to questions on this 
point indicate a total expenditure of approximately $25,000 
annually. For this enormous outlay something comes 
back in the benefits, but probably much less than half. 
The method of conducting these societies puts a premium 
on dishonesty and misrepresentation and a tax on honesty 
and health. A certain class of the insured get sick regu- 
larly and draw benefits and are winked at by the societies 
as a paying advertisement on the street. Their honest 
neighbors on the other hand will struggle on and work for 
years, paying regularly — in some cases five, ten and fifteen 
or more years in various societies — only to be cheated out 
of their insurance by rascally agents, or conniving home 
offices, or their own failure at the last moment to keep up 
payments. Of course the sum involved is too small, and 
the cheated persons too unknown and lowly to lead to liti- 
gation. Let us take some examples : 15 



15 Once in a while the affairs of one of these companies are revealed to 
the public, as for instance, the following 'noted in the Public Ledger ; 



Sect. 29.] Property. 189 

1. This family lost $100 paid in for insurance, by final 
lapse in payments. The woman was sixty years old, and 
poor. 

2. This family belonged to the society ten years 

and paid $12 a year. Finally fell seven days in arrears 
with payments, and was dropped. Had received $65 in 
benefits. 

3. This family had paid in $50 ; was one day behind and 
was dropped. 

4. This family had a woman insured for $2.50 a week, 
and $50 at death. She -received no sick benefits at all, 



October 20, 1896. The company became bankrupt, and its affairs were 
found hopelessly involved. 

" This was the scheme, according to the former agent and some of the 
certificate holders. Upon the payment of ten cents a week for seven 
years, the subscriber was promised $100, to be paid at the end of the 
seventh year. In a year ten cents a week would amount to $5.20; in 
seven years to $36.40. The Keystone Investment Company promised to 
give $100 for $36.40. 

' • Later the assessment was raised to fifteen cents a week. This would 
amount in seven years to $54.60, for which sum $100 was promised in 
return. Some few of the certificate holders paid twenty cents a week, it 
is said. This, in seven years, would amount to $72.80, for which sum, 
according to the agreement, the certificate holder was to be paid $100. 

" Just how many subscribers the company had it is impossible to learn 
from the officers. A gentleman, who has a store next door to the com- 
pany's office, said yesterday that a great many people went there each 
week to pay their assessments. They appeared to be poor people, he 
said. There were a great many Negroes among them, and some of them, 
he said, came from New Jersey. 

" The concern started in business in 1891, and has always occupied its 
present quarters, which are very unpretentious, by the way, for a financial 
company of any standing. A lady residing on Girard avenue, east of 
Hanover street, yesterday related her experience with the company as 
follows: 

"'I invested in certificates for my mother and my little daughter, 
paying fifteen cents a week on each. The agreement was that each was 
to receive $100 at the end of seven years. I have been paying for my 
little girl nearly three years, and for my mother nearly two years. It 
will be two years next Christmas. The payments were made regu- 
larly. On both certificates I have paid in about $35.' " 



190 The Negro Family. [Chap. XI. 

and only $20 at death. They said : " We stint ourselves 
of our victuals to keep up and then lose it all." 

5. A family who put $75 into a society and lost it all. 

6. A mother was in the society two years. When 

she was taken sick, she sent her child to notify them ; they 
took no notice of this on the ground that the notification 
by a child was not legal, and paid her nothing. 

7. This man was a member of the society fifteen 

years, and his wife seven years ; paid in $354 in all and 
drew out $90 in benefits ; the society then " discovered " 
that the man belonged to the G. A. R., and dropped him 
and kept the money. 

8. This man belonged to a society seven years, at $1.30 
per month ; received $20 in benefits and lost the rest 
through a lapse in payments. 

9. This family belonged to different societies eight years 
and lost all the money invested. 

10. This person was a member of a society some time, 
when the collector absconded with the money, and the so- 
ciety refused to bear the responsibility. 

11. The mother had paid $54.60 to a society for a death 
benefit, but at her death the society paid nothing. 

12. The society collapsed and this person lost $75. 

13. This family invested $1.23 a month with a society 
for thirteen years in order to receive $200 endowment. 
This was at the rate of $73.80 annually for a $1000 policy ! 

14. This man has paid in $88 so far, and has never re- 
ceived sick or other benefits. 

15. This woman had belonged to a society for years and 
was once taken sick just before the agent called. When 
he came he was asked to return, as the sick woman was 
asleep. He did not return, and when a claim for sick 
benefits was made, it was denied on the ground that the 
woman had not paid her dues when the agent called. 

In many other cases the matter of age is made a loop- 
hole for cheating ; numbers of the Negroes do not know 



Sect. 29.] Property, 191 

their exact ages ; in such cases the insurance agent will 
suggest an age, usually below the evident truth, and insert 
it in the policy ; if the insured dies the physician guesses 
at another age nearer the truth, and inserts it in the death 
certificate. Thereupon the insurance company points to 
the discrepancy, alleges an attempt to deceive oh the part 
of the insured, and either refuses to pay any of the policy 
or generally offers to compound for a half or a third of the 
amount promised. This is perhaps the most common form 
of cheating outside the failure to account for the payments 
of lapsed members. In some cases the home office pays 
the death claim, and the local office or agent cheats the 
insured. 

Without doubt such societies meet outrageous attempts 
at deception on the part of the insured ; and yet since their 
methods of business put a premium on this sort of cheat- 
ing they can hardly complain. The whole business is 
nothing more than gambling, where one set of sharpers bet 
against another set, and the honest hard-working but 
ignorant toilers pay the bill. 16 With all the harm that 
open policy-playing and other sorts of gambling do, it is to 
be doubted if their effects on character are more deleterious 
than this form of insurance business. The Negroes by the 
crime of the Freedmen's Bank have been long prejudiced 
against banks, and this business encourages their aversion 
to the slow, sure methods of saving. If the colored people 
are ever to learn " forehandedness," in place of the slip- 
shod chance methods of living, the savings bank must 
soon replace the insurance society ; and that they could 
support savings banks in abundance is shown by the fact 



1B As before noted, I am aware that a few of these societies do not 
wholly deserve this sweeping condemnation, and that all of them are 
defended by certain short-sighted persons as encouraging savings. My 
observation convinces me, however, of the substantial truth of my con- 
clusions. Of course, all this has nothing to do with the legitimate life 
insurance business. 



192 The Negro Family. [Chap. XI. 

that they annually invest between $75,000 and $100,000 
in insurance societies in the city of Philadelphia. 

It is not generally known how lucrative a business the 
exploitation of the Negro in various lines has become. In 
ornaments, clothes, entertainments, books and investment 
schemes, the shrewd and unscrupulous have a broad field 
of work, and it is being industriously cultivated, especially 
by whites and to some extent by certain classes of Negroes. 
Instead then of a struggling people being met by aid in 
the direction of their greatest weakness, they are sur- 
rounded by agencies which tend to make them more 
wasteful and dependent on chance than they are now. 
One has only to watch the pawn-brokers' shops on Satur- 
day night in winter to see how largely Negroes support 
them ; and it is but a step from the insurance society to 
the pawnshop and thence to the policy shop. 

30. Family Life. — Among the masses of the Negro 
people in America the Monogamic Home is comparatively 
a new institution, not more than two or three generations 
old. The Africans were taken from polygamy and trans- 
planted into a plantation where the home life was pro- 
tected only by the caprice of the master, and practically 
unregulated polygamy and polyandry was the result, on the 
plantations of the West Indies. In States like Pennsyl- 
vania the marriage institution among slaves was early 
established and maintained. Consequently one meets 
among the Philadelphia Negroes the result of both 
systems — the looseness of plantation life and the strictness 
of Quaker teaching. Among the lowest class of recent 
immigrants and other unfortunates there is much sexual 
promiscuity and the absence of a real home life. Actual 
prostitution for gain is not as widespread as would at first 
thought seem natural. On the other hand, there are two 
widespread systems among the lowest classes, viz., tem- 
porary cohabitation and the support of men. Cohabitation 
of a more or less permanent character is a direct offshoot 



Sect. 30.] Family Life. 193 

of the plantation life and is practiced considerably ; in 
distinctly slum districts, like that at Seventh and L,om- 
bard, from 10 to 25 per cent of the unions are of this 
nature. Some of them are simply common-law marriages 
and are practically never broken. Others are compacts, 
which last for two to ten years ; others for some months ; 
in most of these cases the women are not prostitutes, but 
rather ignorant and loose. In such cases there is, of course, 
little home life, rather a sort of neighborhood life, center- 
ing in the alleys and on the sidewalks, where the children 
are educated. Of the great mass of Negroes this class 
forms a very small percentage and is absolutely with- 
out social standing. They are the dregs which indicate 
the former history and the dangerous tendencies of the 
masses. The system of supporting men is one common 
among the prostitutes of all countries, and widespread 
among the Negro women of the town. Two little colored 
girls walking along South street stopped before a gaudy 
pair of men's shoes displayed in a shop window, and one 
said : " That's the kind of shoes I'd buy my fellow ! " The 
remark fixed their life history ; they were from among the 
prostitutes of Middle Alley, or Ratcliffe street, or some 
similar resort, where each woman supports some man from 
the results of her gains. The majority of the well-dressed 
loafers whom one sees on Locust street near Ninth, on Lom- 
bard near Seventh and Seventeenth, on Twelfth near Kater, 
and in other such localities, are supported by prostitutes and 
political largesse, and spend their time in gambling. They 
are absolutely without home life, and form the most dan- 
gerous class in the community, both for crime and political 
corruption. 

Leaving the slums and coming to the great mass of the 
Negro population we see undoubted effort has been made 
to establish homes. Two great hindrances, however, cause 
much mischief: the low wages of men and the high rents. 
The low wages of men make it necessary for mothers to 
13 



194 The Negro Family, [Chap. XI. 

work and in numbers of cases to work away from home sev- 
eral days in the week. This leaves the children without 
guidance or restraint for the better part of the day — a thing 
disastrous to manners and morals. To this must be added 
the result of high rents, namely, the lodging system. Who- 
ever wishes to live in the centre of Negro population, near 
the great churches and near work, must pay high rent 
for a decent house. This rent the average Negro family 
cannot afford, and to get the house they sub-rent a part to 
lodgers. As a a consequence, 38 per cent of the homes of 
the Seventh Ward have unknown strangers admitted freely 
into their doors. The result is, on the whole, pernicious, 
especially where there are growing children. Moreover, 
the tiny Philadelphia houses are ill suited to a lodging 
system. The lodgers are often waiters, who are at home 
between meals, at the very hours when the housewife is off 
at work, and growing daughters are thus left unprotected. 
In some cases, though this is less often, servant girls and 
other female lodgers are taken. In such ways the privacy 
and intimacy of home life is destroyed, and elements of 
danger and demoralization admitted. Many families see 
this and refuse to take lodgers, and move where they can 
afford the rent without help. This involves more depriva- 
tions to a socially ostracized race like the Negro than to 
whites, since it often means hostile neighbors or no social 
intercourse. If a number of Negroes settle together, the 
real estate agents dump undesirable elements among them, 
which some enthusiastic association has driven from the 
slums. 

There are a large number of waiters, porters and ser- 
vant girls in the city who naturally have no home life and 
are exposed to peculiar temptations. The church is the 
rallying place of the best class of these young people, and 
it attempts to furnish their amusements. Loafing and 
promenading the streets is the only other entertainment 
most of these young folks have. They form a serious 



Sect. 30.] Family Life. 195 

problem, to which the lodging system is the only attempted 
answer, and that a dangerous one. Homes and clubs 
properly conducted ought to be opened for them. A 
Young Men's Christian Association which would not 
degenerate into an endless prayer meeting might meet the 
wants of the young men. 

The home life of the middle laboring class lacks many 
of the pleasant features of good homes. Traces of plan- 
tation customs still persist, and there is a widespread cus- 
tom of seeking amusement outside the home ; thus the 
home becomes a place for a hurried meal now and then, 
and lodging. Only on Sundays does the general gathering 
in the front room, the visits and leisurely dinner smack of 
proper home life. Nevertheless, the spirit of home life is 
steadily growing. Nearly all the housewives deplore the 
lodging system and the work that keeps them away from 
home; and there is a widespread desire to remedy these 
evils and the other evil which is akin to them, the allow- 
ing of children and young women to be out unattended at 
night. 

In the better class families there is a pleasant family life 
of distinctly Quaker characteristics. One can go into such 
homes in the Seventh Ward and find all the quiet comfort 
and simple good-hearted fare that one would expect among 
well-bred people. In some cases the homes are lavishly 
furnished, in others they are homely and old-fashioned. 
Even in the best homes, however, there is easily detected 
a tendency to let the communal church and society life 
trespass upon the home. There are fewer strictly family 
gatherings than would be desirable, fewer simple neighbor- 
hood gatherings and visits ; in their place are the church 
teas, the hall concerts, or the elaborate parties given by the 
richer and more ostentatious. These things are of no par- 
ticular moment to the circle of families involved, but they 
set an example to the masses which may be misleading. 
The mass of the Negro people must be taught sacredly to 



196 The Negro Family, [Chap. XI. 

guard the home, to make it the centre of social life and 
moral guardianship. This it is largely among the best 
class of Negroes, but it might be made even more con- 
spicuously so than it is. Such emphasis undoubtedly 
means the decreased influence of the Negro church, and 
that is a desirable thing. 

On the whole, the Negro has few family festivals ; birth- 
days are not often noticed, Christmas is a time of church 
and general entertainments, Thanksgiving is coming to be 
widely celebrated, but here again in churches as much as 
in homes. The home was destroyed by slavery, struggled 
up after emancipation and is again not exactly threatened, 
but neglected in the life of city Negroes. Herein lies food 
for thought. 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE ORGANIZED LIKE OF NEGROES. 

31. History of the Negro Church in Philadelphia. — 

We have already followed the history of the rise of the 
Free African Society, which was the beginning of the 
Negro Church in the North. 1 We often forget that the 
rise of a church organization among Negroes was a curious 
phenomenon. The church really represented all that was 
left of African tribal life, and was the sole expression of 
the organized efforts of the slaves. It was natural that 
any movement among freedmen should centre about their 
religious life, the sole remaining element of their former 
tribal system. Consequently when, led by two strong men, 
they left the white Methodist Church, they were naturally 
unable to form any democratic moral reform association ; 
they must be led and guided, and this guidance must have 
the religious sanction that tribal government always has. 
Consequently Jones and Allen, the leaders of the Free 
African Society, as early as 1791 began regular religious 
exercises, and at the close of the eighteenth century there 
were three Negro churches in the city, two of which were 
independent. 2 



1 Cf. Chapter III. 

2 St. Thomas, Bethel and Zoar. The history of Zoar is of interest. It 
"extends over a period of one hundred years, being as it is an offspring 
of St. George's Church, Fourth and Vine streets, the first Methodist 
Episcopal church to be established in this country, and in whose edifice 
the first American Conference of that denomination was held. Zoar 
Church had its origin in 1794, when members of St. George's Church 
established a mission in what was then known as Campingtown, now 
known as Fourth and Brown streets, at which place its first chapel was 
built. There it remained until 1883, when economic and sociological 

(197) 



198 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

St. Thomas' Church has had a most interesting history. 
It early declared its purpose " of advancing our friends in 
a true knowledge of God, of true religion, and of the ways 
and means to restore our long lost race to the dignity of 
men and of Christians. " 3 The church offered itself to the 
Protestant Episcopal Church and was accepted on condi- 
tion that they take no part in the government of the gen- 
eral church. Their leader, Absalom Jones, was ordained 
deacon and priest, and took charge of the church. In 1804 
the church established a day school which lasted until 
1816. 4 In 1849 St. Thomas' began a series of attempts 
to gain full recognition in the Church by a demand for 
delegates to the Church gatherings. The Assembly first 
declared that it was not expedient to allow Negroes to 
take part. To this the vestry returned a dignified answer, 
asserting that " expediency is no plea against the violation 
of the great principles of charity, mercy, justice and 
truth." Not until 1864 was the Negro body received into 
full fellowship with the Church. In the century and more 
of its existence St. Thomas' has always represented a high 
grade of intelligence, and to-day it still represents the most 
cultured and wealthiest of the Negro population and the 
Philadelphia born residents. Its membership has couse- 



causes made necessary the selection of a new site. The city had grown, 
and industries of a character in which the Negroes were not interested 
had developed in the neighborhood, and, as the colored people were 
rapidly moving to a different section of the city, it was decided that 
the church should follow, and the old building was sold. Through the 
liberality of Colonel Joseph M. Bennett a brick building was erected on 
Melon street, above Twelfth. 

"Since then the congregation has steadily increased in numbers, until 
in August of this year it was found necessary to enlarge the edifice. The 
corner-stone of the new front was laid two months ago. The present 
membership of the church is about 550." — Public Ledger, November 15, 
1897. 

3 See Douglass' " Annals of St. Thomas'." 

* It was then turned into a private school and supported largely by an 
English educational fund. 



Sect. 31.] Negro Church in Philadelphia. 199 

quently always been small, being 246 in 1794, 427 in 1795, 
105 in i860, and 391 in 1897. 5 

The growth of Bethel Church, founded by Richard 
Allen, on South Sixth Street, has been so phenomenal that 
it belongs to the history of the nation rather than to any 
one city. From a weekly gathering which met in Allen's 
blacksmith shop on Sixth near Lombard, grew a large 
church edifice ; other churches were formed under the same 
general plan, and Allen, as overseer of them, finally took the 
title of bishop and ordained other bishops. The Church, 
under the name of African Methodist Episcopal, grew and 
spread until in 1890 the organization had 452,725 members, 
2481 churches and $6,468,280 worth of property. 6 

By 1813 7 there were in Philadelphia six Negro churches 
with the following membership : 8 

St. Thomas', P. B 560 

Bethel, A. M. E 1272 

Zoar, M. E 80 

Union, A. M. E 74 

Baptist, Race and Vine Streets 80 

Presbyterian 300 

2366 

The Presbyterian Church had been founded by two 
Negro missionaries, father and son, named Gloucester, in 
1807. 9 The Baptist Church was founded in 1809. The 
inquiry of 1838 gives these statistics of churches : 



5 St. Thomas' has suffered often among Negroes from the opprobrium 
of being "aristocratic," and is to-day by no means a popular church 
among the masses. Perhaps there is some justice in this charge, but 
the church has nevertheless always been foremost in good work and 
has many public spirited Negroes on its rolls. 

6 Cf. U. S. Census, Statistics of Churches, 1890. 

7 In 1809 the leading Negro churches formed a " Society for Suppress- 
ing Vice and Immorality," which received the endorsement of Chief 
Justice Tilghman, Benjamin Franklin, Jacob Rush, and others. 

8 "Condition of Negroes, 1838," pp. 39-40. 

9 Cf. Robert Jones' " Fifty years in Central Church." John Gloucester 
began preaching in 1807 at Seventh and Bainbridge. 



200 



Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 



Denomination. 


No. 
Churches. 


Members. 


Annual 
Expenses. 


Value of 
Property. 


Incum- 
brance. 


Episcopalian .... 

Lutheran 

Methodist 

Presbyterian .... 


I 

I 
8 

2 

4 


IOO 
IO 

2,860 

325 

700 


$1,000 

I20 

2,lOO 

1,500 

1,300 


$36,000 

3,000 

50,800 

20,000 

4,200 


$1,000 
5,IOO 
I,000 


Total 


16 


3,995 


$6,020 


$II4,000 


$7,IOO 



Three more churches were added in the next ten years, 
and then a reaction followed. 10 By 1867 there were in all 
probability nearly twenty churches, of which we have 
statistics of seventeen : 11 

Statistics of Negro Churches, 1867. 



Name. 



P.E.— 

St. Thomas' 
Methodist — 

Bethel . . . 

Union . . . 

Wesley . . 

Zoar. . . . 



John Wesley .... 

Little Wesley . . . 

Pisgah 

Zion City Mission . 

Little Union .... 
Baptist — 

First Baptist .... 

Union Baptist . . . 

Shiloh 

Oak Street 

Presbyterian — 

First Presbyterian . 

Second Presbyterian 

Central Presbyterian 





Number of 


Value of 


Founded. 


Members. 


Property. 


1792 


# # 




1794 


I,IOO 


$50,000 


1827 


467 


40,000 


1817 


464 


21,000 


1794 


400 


12,000 


1844 


42 


3,O0O 


I82I 


310 


II,000 


1831 


Il6 


4,600 


1858 


90 


4,500 


1837 


200 


. . . 


1809 


360 


5,000 


. . 


400 


7,000 


1842 


405 


16,000 


1827 


137 


. . . 


1807 


200 


8,000 


1824 


. . 


. . . 


1844 


240 


l6,000 



Pastors' 
Salary. 



$600 
850 
700 

No regular 
salary. 
500 
430 



600 
600 



Since the war the growth of Negro churches has been 
by bounds, there being twenty-five churches and missions 
in 1880, and fifty-five in 1897. 



10 In 1847 there were 19 churches; 12 of these had 3974 members; 11 
of the edifices cost $67,000. " Statistical Inquiry," 1848, pp. 29, 30. 

In 1854 there were 19 churches reported and 1677 Sunday-school 
scholars. Bacon, 1856. 

11 See Inquiry of 1867. 



Sect. 32.] Function of the Negro Church. 201 

So phenomenal a growth as this here outlined means 
more than the establishment of many places of worship. 
The Negro is, to be sure, a religious creature — most primi- 
tive folk are — but his rapid and even extraordinary 
founding of churches is not due to this fact alone, but is 
rather a measure of his development, an indication of the 
increasing intricacy of his social life and the consequent 
multiplication of the organ which is the function of his 
group life — the church. To understand this let us inquire 
into the function of the Negro church. 

32. The Function of the Negro Church. — The Negro 
church is the peculiar and characteristic product of the 
transplanted African, and deserves especial study. As a 
social group the Negro church may be said to have ante- 
dated the Negro family on American soil ; as such it has 
preserved, on the one hand, many functions of tribal 
organization, and on the other hand, many of the family 
functions. Its tribal functions are shown in its religious 
activity, its social authority and general guiding and 
co-ordinating work ; its family functions are shown by the 
fact that the church is a centre of social life and inter- 
course ; acts as newspaper and intelligence bureau, is the 
centre of amusements — indeed, is the world in which the 
Negro moves and acts. So far-reaching are these functions 
of the church that its organization is almost political. In 
Bethel Church, for instance, the mother African Methodist 
Episcopal Church of America, we have the following 
officials and organizations : 

The Bishop of the District \ 

The Presiding Elder y Executive. 

The Pastor J 

The Board of Trustees Executive Council. 

General Church Meeting Legislative. 

The Board of Stewards ^ 

The Board of Stewardesses >■ Financial Board. 

The Junior Stewardesses ) 

The Sunday School Organization . . . Educational System. 
Ladies' Auxiliary, Volunteer Guild, etc. Tax Collectors. 



202 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

Ushers' Association .... Police. 

Class Leaders ■) , ._. , 

Local Preachers } Sheriffs and Magistrates. 

Choir Music and Amusement. 

Allen Guards Militia. 

Missionary Societies Social Reformers. 

Beneficial and Semi-Secret Societies, etc. Corporations. 

Or to put it differently, here we have a mayor, appointed 
from without, with great administrative and legislative pow- 
ers, although well limited by long and zealously cherished 
custom ; he acts conjointly with a select council, the trustees, 
a board of finance, composed of stewards and stewardesses, 
a common council of committees and, occasionally, of all 
church members. The various functions of the church are 
carried out by societies and organizations. The form of 
government varies, but is generally some form of democracy 
closely guarded by custom and tempered by possible and 
not infrequent secession. 

The functions of such churches in order of present 
emphasis are : 

i. The raising of the annual budget. 

2. The maintenance of membership. 

3. Social intercourse and amusements. 

4. The setting of moral standards. 

5. Promotion of general intelligence. 

6. Efforts for social betterment. 

1. The annual budget is of first importance, because 
the life of the organization depends upon it. The amount 
of expenditure is not very accurately determined before- 
hand, although its main items do not vary much. There 
is the pastor's salary, the maintenance of the building, 
light and heat, the wages of a janitor, contributions to 
various church objects, and the like, to which must be 
usually added the interest on some debt. The sum thus 
required varies in Philadelphia from $200 to $5000. A 
small part of this is raised by a direct tax on each mem- 
ber. Besides this, voluntary contributions by members 



Sect. 32.] Function of the Negro Church. 203 

roughly gauged according to ability, are expected, and a 
strong public opinion usually compels payment. Another 
large source of revenue is the collection after the ser- 
mons on Sunday, when, amid the reading of notices and 
a subdued hum of social intercourse, a stream of givers 
walk to the pulpit and place in the hands of the trustee or 
steward in charge a contribution, varying from a cent to a 
dollar or more. To this must be added the steady revenue 
from entertainments, suppers, socials, fairs, and the like. 
In this way the Negro churches of Philadelphia raise 
nearly $100,000 a year. . They hold in real estate $900,000 
worth of property, and are thus no insignificant element in 
the economics of the city. 

2. Extraordinary methods are used and efforts made to 
maintain and increase the membership of the various 
churches. To be a popular church with large membership 
means ample revenues, large social influence and a leader- 
ship among the colored people unequaled in power and 
effectiveness. Consequently people are attracted to the 
church b}' sermons, by music and by entertainments ; finally, 
every year a revival is held, at which considerable numbers 
of young people are converted. All this is done in perfect 
sincerity and without much thought of merely increasing 
membership, and yet every small church strives to be large 
by these means and every large church to maintain itself 
or grow larger. The churches thus vary from a dozen to 
a thousand members. 

3. Without wholly conscious effort the Negro church 
has become a centre of social intercourse to a degree 
unknown in white churches even in the country. The 
various churches, too, represent social classes. At St. 
Thomas' one looks for the well-to-do Philadelphians, largely 
descendants of favorite mulatto house-servants, and conse- 
quently well-bred and educated, but rather cold and reserved 
to strangers or newcomers ; at Central Presbyterian one 
sees the older, simpler set of respectable Philadelphians 



204 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

with distinctly Quaker characteristics — pleasant but con- 
servative ; at Bethel may be seen the best of the great 
laboring class — steady, honest "people, well dressed and well 
fed, with church and family traditions ; at Wesley will be 
found the new arrivals, the sight-seers and the strangers to 
the city — hearty and easy-going people, who welcome all 
comers and ask few questions ; at Union Baptist one may 
look for the Virginia servant girls and their young men ; 
and so on throughout the city. Each church forms its 
own social circle, and not many stray beyond its bounds. 
Introductions into that circle come through the church, and 
thus the stranger becomes known. All sorts of entertain- 
ments and amusements are furnished by the churches : 
concerts, suppers, socials, fairs, literary exercises and debates, 
cantatas, plays, excursions, picnics, surprise parties, cele- 
brations. Every holiday is the occasion of some special 
entertainment by some club, society or committee of the 
church ; Thursday afternoons and evenings, when the ser- 
vant girls are free, are always sure to have some sort of 
entertainment. Sometimes these exercises are free, some- 
times an admission fee is charged, sometimes refreshments 
or articles are on sale. The favorite entertainment is a 
concert with solo singing, instrumental music, reciting, and 
the like. Many performers make a living by appearing at 
these entertainments in various cities, and often they are 
persons of training and ability, although not always. So 
frequent are these and other church exercises that there are 
few Negro churches which are not open four to seven nights 
in a week and sometimes one or two afternoons in addition. 
Perhaps the pleasantest and most interesting social 
intercourse takes place on Sunday ; the weary week's work 
is done, the people have slept late and had a good break- 
fast, and sally forth to church well dressed and complacent. 
The usual hour of the morning service is eleven, but 
people stream in until after twelve. The sermon is usually 
short and stirring, but in the larger churches elicits little 



Sect. 32.] Function of the Negro Church. 205 

response other than an "Amen" or two. After the sermon 
the social features begin ; notices on the various meetings 
of the week are read, people talk with each other in sub- 
dued tones, take their contributions to the altar, and lin- 
ger in the aisles and corridors long after dismission to laugh 
and chat until one or two o'clock. Then they go home 
to good dinners. Sometimes there is some special three 
o'clock service, but usually nothing save Sunday-school, 
until night. Then comes the chief meeting of the day ; 
probably ten thousand Negroes gather every Sunday night 
in their churches. There is much music, much preaching, 
some short addresses ; many strangers are there to be 
looked at ; many beaus bring out their belles, and those 
who do not gather in crowds at the church door and escort 
the young women home. The crowds are usually well 
behaved and respectable, though rather more jolly than 
comports with a puritan idea of church services. 

In this way the social life of the Negro centres in his 
church — baptism, wedding and burial, gossip and court- 
ship, friendship and intrigue — all lie in these walls. What 
wonder that this central club house tends to become more 
and more luxuriously furnished, costly in appointment 
and easy of access ! 

4. It must .not be inferred from all this that the 
Negro is hypocritical or irreligious. His church is, to be 
sure, a social institution first, and religious afterwards, but 
nevertheless, its religious activity is wide and sincere. In 
direct moral teaching and in setting moral standards for 
the people, however, the church is timid, and naturally so, 
for its constitution is democracy tempered by custom. 
Negro preachers are often condemned for poor leadership 
and empty sermons, and it is said that men with so 
much power and influence could make striking moral re- 
forms. This is but partially true. The congregation does 
not follow the moral precepts of the preacher, but rather 
the preacher follows the standard of his flock, and only 



206 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

exceptional men dare seek to change this. And here it 
must be remembered that the Negro preacher is primarily 
an executive officer, rather than a spiritual guide. If one 
goes into any great Negro church and hears the sermon 
and views the audience, one would say : either the sermon 
is far below the calibre of the audience, or the people are less 
sensible than they look ; the former explanation is usually 
true. The preacher is sure to be a man of executive ability, 
a leader of men, a shrewd and affable president of a large and 
intricate corporation. In addition to this he may be, and 
usually is, a striking elocutionist ; he may also be a man of 
integrity, learning, and deep spiritual earnestness; but these 
last three are sometimes all lacking, and the last two in many 
cases. Some signs of advance are here manifest : no min- 
ister of notoriously immoral life, or even of bad reputation, 
could hold a large church in Philadelphia without eventual 
revolt. Most of the present pastors are decent, respectable 
men ; there are perhaps one or two exceptions to this, but the 
exceptions are doubtful, rather than notorious. On the whole 
then, the average Negro preacher in this city is a shrewd 
manager, a respectable man, a good talker, a pleasant com- 
panion, but neither learned nor spiritual, nor a reformer. 

The moral standards are therefore set by the congrega- 
tions, and vary from church to church in some degree. 
There has been a slow working toward a literal obeying of 
the puritan and ascetic standard of morals which Method- 
ism imposed on the freedmen ; but condition and tem- 
perament have modified these. The grosser forms of im- 
morality, together with theatre-going and dancing, are 
specifically denounced ; nevertheless, the precepts against 
specific amusements are often violated by church members. 
The cleft between denominations is still wide, especially 
between Methodists and Baptists. The sermons are usually 
kept within the safe ground of a mild Calvinism, with 
much insistence on Salvation, Grace, Fallen Humanity 
and the like. 



Sect. 33.] Condition of the Churches, 207 

The chief function of these churches in morals is to con- 
serve old standards and create about them a public opinion 
which shall deter the offender. And in this the Negro 
churches are peculiarly successful, although naturally the 
standards conserved are not as high as they should be. 

5. The Negro churches were the birthplaces of Negro 
schools and of all agencies which seek to promote the in- 
telligence of the masses ; and even to-day no agency serves 
to disseminate news or information so quickly and effect- 
ively among Negroes as the church. The lyceum and 
lecture here still maintain a feeble but persistent exist- 
ence, and church newspapers and books are circulated 
widely. Night schools and kindergartens are still held in 
connection with churches, and all Negro celebrities, from a 
bishop to a poet like Dunbar, are introduced to Negro 
audiences from the pulpits. 

6. Consequently all movements for social betterment are 
apt to centre in the churches. Beneficial societies in end- 
less number are formed here ; secret societies keep in touch ; 
co-operative and building associations have lately sprung 
up ; the minister often acts as an employment agent ; con- 
siderable charitable and relief work is done and special 
meetings held to aid special projects. 12 The race problem 
in all its phases is continually being discussed, and, indeed, 
from this forum many a youth goes forth inspired to 
work. 

Such are some of the functions of the Negro church, and 
a"study of them indicates how largely this organization has 
come to be an expression of the organized life of Negroes 
in a great city. 

33. The Present Condition of the Churches. — The 
2441 families of the Seventh Ward were distributed among 
the various denominations, in 1896, as follows : 



11 Cf. Publications of Atlanta University No. 3, "Efforts of American 
Negroes for Social Betterment." 



208 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

Families. 

Methodists 842 

Baptists 577 

Episcopalians 156 

Presbyterians 74 

Catholic 69 

Shakers 2 

Unconnected and unknown 721 

2441 

Probably half of the " unconnected and unknown " 
habitually attend church. 

In the city at large the Methodists have a'decided majority, 
followed by the Baptists, and further behind, the Episco- 
palians. Starting with the Methodists, we find three 
bodies : the African Methodist Episcopal, founded by Allen, 
the A. M. E. Zion, which sprung from a secession of 
Negroes from white churches in New York in the eighteenth 
century ; and the M. E. Church, consisting of colored 
churches belonging to the white Methodist Church, like 
Zoar. 

The A. M. E. Church is the largest body and had, in 
1897, fourteen churches and missions in the city, with a 
total membership of 3210, and thirteen church edifices, 
seating 61 17 persons. These churches collected during the 
year, $27,074.13. Their property is valued at $202,229 
on which there is a mortgage indebtedness of $30,000 
to $50,000. Detailed statistics are given in the table 
on next page. 

These churches are pretty well organized, and are con- 
ducted with vim and enthusiasm. This arises largely 
from their system. Their bishops have been in some in- 
stances men of piety and ability like the late Daniel A. 
Payne. In other cases they have fallen far below this 
standard; but they have always been men of great influ- 
ence, and had a genius for leadership — else they would not 
have been bishops. They have large powers of appoint- 
ment and removal in the case of pastors, and thus each 



Sect. 33.] 



Condition of the Churches. 



209 



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210 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

pastor working under the eye of an inspiring chief, 
strains every nerve to make his church a successful 
organization. The bishop is aided by several presiding 
elders, who are traveling inspectors and preachers, and 
give advice as to appointments. This system results in 
great unity and power ; the purely spiritual aims of the 
church, to be sure, suffer somewhat, but after all this pecu- 
liar organism is more than a church, it is a government of 
men. 

The headquarters of the A. M. K. Church are in Philadel- 
phia. Their publishing house, at Seventh and Pine, pub- 
lishes a weekly paper, and a quarterly review, besides some 
books, such as hymnals, church disciplines, short treatises, 
leaflets and the like. The receipts of this establishment 
in 1897 were $16,058.26, and its expenditures $14,119.15. 
Its total outfit and property is valued at $45,513.64, with 
an indebtedness of $14,513.64. 

An episcopal residence for the bishop of the district has 
recently been purchased on Belmont avenue. The Phila- 
delphia Conference disbursed from the general church 
funds in 1897, $985 to superannuated ministers, and $375 
to widows of ministers. Two or three women missionaries 
visited the sick during the year and some committees of 
the Ladies' Mission Society worked to secure orphans' 
homes. 13 Thus throughout the work of this church there 



13 An account of the present state of the A. M. B. Church from its own 
lips is interesting, in spite of its somewhat turgid rhetoric. The follow- 
ing is taken from the minutes of Philadelphia Conference, 1897: 

REPORT ON STATE) OF THE CHURCH. 

"To the Bishop and Conference: We your Committee on State of the 

Church beg leave to submit the following: 

"Every truly devoted African Methodist is intensely interested in the 
condition of the church that was handed down to us as a precious heir- 
loom from the hands of a God-fearing, self-sacrificing ancestry; the 
church that Allen planted in Philadelphia, a little over a century ago has 
enjoyed a marvelous development. Its grand march through the pro- 
cession of a hundred years has been characterized by a series of brilliant 



Sect. 33.] Condition of the Churches, 211 

is much evidence of enthusiasm and persistent progress. 14 
There are three churches in the city representing the 
A. M. K. Zion connection. They are : 

Wesley Fifteenth and Lombard Sts. 

Mount Zion Fifty-fifth above Market St. 

Union Ninth St. and Girard Ave. 



successes, completely refuting the foul calumnies cast against it and 
overcoming every obstacle that endeavored to impede its onward march, 
giving the strongest evidence that God was in the midst of her; she 
should not be moved. 

" From the humble beginnings in the little blacksmith shop, at Sixth 
and Iyombard streets, Philadelphia, the Connection has grown until we 
have now fifty-five annual conferences, beside mission fields, with over 
four thousand churches, the same number of itinerant preachers, near six 
hundred thousand communicants, one and a half million adherents, with 
six regularly organized and well-manned departments, each doing a 
magnificent work along special lines, the whole under the immediate 
supervision of eleven bishops, each with a marked individuality and all 
laboring together for the further development and perpetuity of the 
church. In this the Mother Conference of the Connection, we have 
every reason to be grateful to Almighty God for the signal blessings He 
has so graciously poured out upon us. The spiritual benedictions have 
been many. In response to earnest effort and faithful prayers by both 
pastors and congregations, nearly two thousand persons have professed 
faith in Christ, during this conference year. Five thousand dollars have 
been given by the membership and friends of the Connectional interests 
to carry on the machinery of the church, besides liberal contributions for 
the cause of missions, education, the Sunday-school Union and Church 
Extension Departments, and beside all this, the presiding elder and 
pastors have been made to feel that the people are perfectly willing to do 
what they can to maintain the preaching of the word, that tends to 
elevate mankind and glorify God. 

' ■ The local interests have not been neglected; new churches have been 
built, parsonages erected, church mortgages have been reduced, auxiliary 
societies to give everybody in the church a chance to work for God and 
humanity, have been more extensively organized than ever before. 

1 ' The danger signal that we see here and there cropping out, which 
is calculated to bring discredit upon the Church of Christ, is the unholy 
ambition for place and power. The means ofttimes used to bring about 
the desired results, cause the blush of shame to tinge the brow of 

14 Cf., e. g., the account of the founding of new missions in the minutes 
of the Philadelphia Conference, 1896. 



212 Organized Life of Negroes, [Chap. XII. 

No detailed statistics of these churches are available ; 
the last two are small , the first is one of the largest and 



Christian manhood. God always has and always will select those He 
designs to use as the leaders of his Church. 

" Political methods that are in too many instances resorted to, are con- 
trary to the teaching and spirit of the Gospel of Christ. Fitness and 
sobriety will always be found in the lead. 

" Through mistaken sympathy we find that several incompetent men 
have found their way into the ministerial ranks; men who can neither 
manage the financial nor spiritual interests of any church or bring success 
along any line, who are continuously on the wing from one conference to 
the other. The time has come when the strictest scrutiny must be exer- 
cised as to purpose and fitness of candidates, and if admitted and found 
to be continuous failures, Christian charity demands that they be given 
an opportunity to seek a calling where they can make more success than 
in the ministry. These danger signals that flash up now and then must 
be observed and everything contrary to the teachings of God's word and 
the spirit of the discipline weeded out. The church owes a debt of 
gratitude to the fathers who have always remained loyal and true; who 
labored persistently and well for the upbuilding of the connection, that 
they can never repay. 

" Particular care should be taken that no honorable aged minister of 
our great Church should be allowed to suffer for the necessaries of life. 
We especially commend to the consideration of every minister the 
Ministers' Aid Association, which is now almost ready to be organized, 
the object of which is to help assuage the grief and dry the tears of those 
who have been left widowed and fatherless. 

" Our Publication Department is making heroic efforts for the larger 
circulation of our denominational papers and literature generally. These 
efforts ought to be, and must needs be heartily seconded by the Church. 
Lord Bacon says: ' Talking makes a ready man, writing an exact man, 
but reading makes a full man.' We want our people at large to be brim- 
ful of information relative to the growth of the church, the progress of 
the race, the upbuilding of humanity and the glory of God. 

" Our missionary work must not be allowed to retrograde. The banner 
that Allen raised must not be allowed to trail, but must go forward until 
the swarthy sons of Ham everywhere shall gaze with a longing and 
loving look upon the escutcheon that has emblazoned on it, as its motto: 
' The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man,' and the 
glorious truth flashing over the whole world that Jesus Christ died to 
redeem the universal family of mankind. Disasters and misfortunes 
may come to us, but strong men never quail before adversities. The 
clouds of to-day may be succeeded by the sunshine of to-morrow. " 



Sect. 33.] 



Condition of the Churches. 



213 



most popular in the city ; the pastor receives $1500 a year 
and the total income of the church is between $4000 and 
$5000. It does considerable charitable work among its 
aged members, and supports a large sick and death benefit 
society. Its property is worth at least $25,000. 

Two other Methodist churches of different denomina- 
tions are : Grace U. A. M. E., Lombard street, above Fif- 
teenth ; St. Matthew^ Methodist Protestant, Fifty-eighth 
and Vine streets. Both these churches are small, although 
the first has a valuable piece of property. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church has six organizations 
in the city among the Negroes ; they own church property 
valued at $53,700, have a total membership of 1202, and an 
income of $16,394 in 1897. Of this total income, $1235, 
or 7^ per cent, was given for benevolent enterprises. 
These churches are quiet and well conducted, and although 
not among the most popular churches, have nevertheless 
a membership of old and respected citizens. 



CoivORED M 


E. Churches in Philadelphia, 1897. 











02 

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354 


$1312 


$151 


$20 ,000 




$190 


$601 


$4,433 


$1274 


$326 


Frankford .... 


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720 


35 


1,500 




15 


146 


130 


155 


«7 


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72 


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400 


1,000 


270 


177 


Haven 


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440 


39 


3,400 




24 




3,836 


277 


25 


Waterloo Street . 


3i 


221 


27 


800 




45o 


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22 


37 


Zoar 


508 


I270 


220 


20,000 


$4000 


3522 


2171 


5,800 


257 


583 


Total 


1202 


$4791 


544 


$49,700 


$4000 


$4201 


$3368 


$15,289 


$2255 


$1235 



There were in 1896 seventeen Baptist churches in Phila- 
delphia, holding property valued at more than $300,000, 
having six thousand members, and an annual income of, 
probably, $30,000 to $35,000. One of the largest churches 
has in the last five years raised between $17,000 and 
$18,000. 



214 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

Colored Baptist Churches oe Philadelphia, 1896. 



Church. 



Monumental 

Cherry Street . . . . 

Union 

St. Paul 

Ebenezer 

Macedonia 

Bethsaida 

Haddington 

Germantown 

Grace 

Shiloh 

Holy Trinity 

Second, Nicetown . . 

Zion 

Providence 

Cherry Street Mission 
Tabernacle 



Total 



Member- 
ship. 



Value of 
Property. 



435 

800 

1,020 
422 

189 

76 
78 

50 
305 

57 

1,000 

287 

164 

700 



,000 
50,000 
50,000 
25,000 
12,000 
1,000 



24,800 
2,000 

50,000 

10,000 
2,000 

40,000 



5,583 '$296,800 



Expended 
in 

Missions, 
Local and 

Foreign. 



$7.00 

'58.IO 
I. OO 
3-36 
3.00 



5.50 
3.OO 

9-73 



Annual 
Income. 



600 



The Baptists are strong in Philadelphia, and own many- 
large and attractive churches, such as, for instance, the 
Union Baptist Church, on Twelfth street ; Zion Baptist, in 
the northern part of the city ; Monumental, in West Phila- 
delphia, and the staid and respectable Cherry Street Church. 
These churches as a rule have large membership. They 
are, however, quite different in spirit and methods from the 
Methodists ; they lack organization, and are not so well 
managed as business institutions. Consequently statistics 
of their work are very hard to obtain, and indeed in many 
cases do not even exist for individual churches. On the 
other hand, the Baptists are peculiarly clannish and loyal 
to their organization, keep their pastors a long time, and 
thus each church gains an individuality not noticed in 
Methodist churches. If the pastor is a strong, upright 
character, his influence for good is marked. At the same 
time, the Baptists have in their ranks a larger percentage 
of illiteracy than probably any other church, and it is 
often possible for an inferior man to hold a large church 



Sect. 33.] 



Condition of the Churches. 



215 



for years and allow it to stagnate and retrograde. The 
Baptist policy is extreme democracy applied to church 
affairs, and no wonder that this often results in a per- 
nicious dictatorship. While many of the Baptist pastors 
of Philadelphia are men of ability and education, the 
general average is below that of the other churches — a 
fact due principally to the ease with which one can enter 
the Baptist ministry. 15 These churches support a small 
publishing house in the city, which issues a weekly paper. 
They do some charitable work, but not much. 16 
There are three Presbyterian churches in the city : 



Name. 


Members. 


Value of 
Property. 


Annual 
Income. 




First African 


98 
430 
105 


$75,000 
50,000 
25,000 


$1,135 
I,8oo 

1,538 


Parsonage. 
Parsonage. 



Central Church is the oldest of these churches and has 
an interesting history. It represents a withdrawal from 
the First African Presbyterian Church in 1844. The con- 
gregation first worshiped at Eighth and Carpenter streets, 



15 Baptists themselves recognize this. One of the speakers in a recent 
association meeting, as reported by the press, "deprecated the spirit 
shown by some churches in spreading their differences to their detriment 
as church members, and in the eyes of their white brethren; and he recom- 
mended that unworthy brethren from other States, who sought an asylum 
of rest here, be not admitted to local pulpits except in cases where the 
ministers so applying are personally known or vouched for by a resident 
pastor. The custom of recognizing as preachers men incapable of doing 
good work in the pulpit, who were ordained in the South after they had 
failed in the North, was also condemned, and the President declared that 
the times demand a ministry that is able to preach. The practice of 
licensing incapable brethren for the ministry, simply to please them, was 
also looked upon with disfavor, and it was recommended that applicants 
for ordination be required to show at least ability to read intelligently 
the Word of God or a hymn." 

16 One movement deserves notice — the Woman's Auxiliary Society. 
It consists of five circles, representing a like number of colored Baptist 
churches in this city, viz., the Cherry Street, Holy Trinity, Union, 
Nicetown and Germantown, and does general missionary work. 



216 Organized Life of Negroes, [Chap. XII. 

and in 1845 purchased a lot at Ninth and Lombard, 
where they still meet in a quiet and respectable house of 
worship. Their 430 members include some of the oldest 
and most respectable Negro families of the city. Probably 
if the white Presbyterians had given more encouragement 
to Negroes, this denomination would have absorbed the 
best elements of the colored population ; they seem, how- 
ever, to have shown some desire to be rid of the blacks, or 
at least not to increase their Negro membership in Phila- 
delphia to any great extent. Central Church is more 
nearly a simple religious organization than most churches ; 
it listens to able sermons, but does little outside its own 
doors. 17 

Berean Church is the work of one man and is an insti- 
tutional church. It was formerly a mission of Central 
Church and now owns a fine piece of property bought by 
donations contributed by whites and Negroes, but chiefly by 
the former. The conception of the work and its carrying 
out, however, is due to Negroes. This church conducts a 
successful Building and Loan Association, a kindergarten, 



"See, Jones' " Fifty Years in Central Street Church," etc The system 
and order in this church is remarkable. Each year a careful printed 
report of receipts and expenditures is made. The following is an abstract 
of the report for 1891: 

Receipts. 

Finance Committee $977 39 

Pew Rents 709 75 

Legacy 760 77 

Other Receipts 329 54 

$2777 45 

Expenditures. 

Pastor's Salary $1000 00 

Other Salaries 476 00 

Repayment of Loan 409 00 

Interest on Mortgage 60 96 

Donations to General Church 31 57 

General Expenses, etc 759 23 

$2736 76 



Balance $ 40 69 



Sect. 33-] Condition of the Churches. 217 

a medical dispensary and a seaside home, beside the num- 
erous church societies. Probably no church in the city, 
except the Episcopal Church of the Crucifixion, is doing 
so much for the social betterment of the Negro. 18 The 
First African is the oldest colored church of this denomina- 
tion in the city. 

The Episcopal Church has, for Negro congregations, two 
independent churches, two churches dependent on white 
parishes, and four missions and Sunday-schools. Statistics 
of three of these are given in the table on page 218. 

The Episcopal churches receive more outside help than 
others and also do more general mission and rescue work. 
They hold $150,000 worth of property, have 900-1000 
members and an annual income of $7000 to $8000. They 
represent all grades of the colored population. The 
oldest of the churches is St. Thomas. Next comes the 
Church of the Crucifixion, over fifty years old and perhaps 
the most effective church organization in the city for 
benevolent and rescue work. It has been built up virtually 
by one Negro, a man of sincerity and culture, and of 
peculiar energy. This church carries on regular church 
work at Bainbridge and Eighth and at two branch mis- 
sions ; it helps in the Fresh Air Fund, has an ice mission, a 
vacation school of thirty-five children, and a parish visitor. 
It makes an especial feature of good music with its vested 
choir. One or two courses of University Extension lectures 
are held here each year, and there is a large beneficial and 
insurance society in active operation, and a Home for the 
Homeless on Lombard street. This church especially 
reaches after a class of neglected poor whom the other 
colored churches shun or forget and for whom there is 
little fellowship in white churches. The rector says of this 
work : 



18 For history and detailed account of this work see Anderson's 
4< Presbyterianism and the Negro," Phila., 1897. 



2l8 



Organized Life of Negroes, [Chap. XII. 



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Sect. 33.] Condition of the Churches. 219 

" As I look back over nearly twenty years of labor in one 
parish, I see a great deal to be devoutly thankful for. 
Here are people struggling from the beginning of one 
year to another, without ever having what can be called 
the necessaries of life. God alone knows what a real 
struggle life is to them. Many of them must always be 
'moving on,' because they cannot pay the rent or meet 
other obligations. 

" I have just visited a family of four, mother and three 
children. The mother is too sick to work. The eldest 
girl will work when she can find something to do. But 
the rent is due, and there is not a cent in the house. This 
is but a sample. How can such people support a church 
of their own? To many such, religion often becomes 
doubly comforting. They seize eagerly on the promises 
of a life where these earthly distresses will be forever 
absent. 

" If the other half only knew how this half is living — how 
hard and dreary, and often hopeless, life is — the members 
of the more favored half would gladly help to do all they 
could to have the gospel freely preached to those whose 
lives are so devoid of earthly comforts. 

"Twenty or thirty thousand dollars (and that is not 
much), safely invested, would enable the parish to do a 
work that ought to be done and yet is not being done at 
present. The poor could then have the gospel preached to 
them in a way that it is not now being preached." 

The Catholic church has in the last decade made great 
progress in its work among Negroes and is determined to 
do much in the future. Its chief hold upon the colored 
people is its comparative lack of discrimination. There is 
one Catholic church in the city designed especially for 
Negro work — St. Peter Clavers at Twelfth and L,ombard — 
formerly a Presbyterian church; recently a parish house 
has been added. The priest in charge estimates that 400 
or 500 Negroes regularly attend Catholic churches in various 



220 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

parts of the city. The Mary Drexel Home for Colored 
Orphans is a Catholic institution near the city which is 
doing much work. The Catholic church can do more than 
any other agency in humanizing the intense prejudice of 
many of the working-class against the Negro, and signs of 
this influence are manifest in some quarters. 

We have thus somewhat in detail reviewed the work of 
the chief churches. There are beside these continually 
springing up and dying a host of little noisy missions which 
represent the older and more demonstrative worship. A 
description of one applies to nearly all; take for instance 
one in the slums of the Fifth Ward: 

" The tablet in the gable of this little church bears the 
date 1837. For sixty years it has stood and done its work 
in the narrow lane. What its history has been all this 
time it is difficult to find out, for no records are on hand, 
and no one is here to tell the tale. 

" The few last months of the old order was something like 
this: It was in the hands of a Negro congregation. 
Several visits were paid to the church, and generally a 
dozen people were found there. After a discourse by a 
very illiterate preacher, hymns were sung, having many 
repetitions of senseless sentiment and exciting cadences. 
It took about an hour to work up the congregation to a 
fervor aimed at. When this was reached a remarkable 
scene presented itself. The whole congregation pressed 
forward to an open space before the pulpit, and formed a 
ring. The most excitable of their number entered the 
ring, and with clapping of hands and contortions led the 
devotions. Those forming the ring joined in the clapping 
of hands and wild and loud singing, frequently springing 
into the air, and shouting loudly. As the devotions pro- 
ceeded, most of the worshipers took off their coats and 
vests and hung them on pegs on the wall. This continued 
for hours, until all were completely exhausted, and some 
had fainted and been stowed away on benches or the pulpit 



Sect. 34.] Societies and Co-operative Business, 221 

platform. This was the order of things at the close of sixty 
years' history. * * * When this congregation vacated 
the church, they did so stealthily, under cover of darkness, 
removed furniture not their own, including the pulpit, and 
left bills unpaid." 19 

There are dozens of such little missions in various parts 
of Philadelphia, led by wandering preachers. They are 
survivals of the methods of worship in Africa and the West 
Indies. In some of the larger churches noise and excite- 
ment attend the services, especially at the time of revival 
or in prayer meetings. For the most part, however, these 
customs are dying away. 

To recapitulate, we have in Philadelphia fifty-five Negro 
churches with 12,845 members owning $907,729 worth of 
property with an annual income of at least $94,968. And 
these represent the organized efforts of the race better than 
any other organizations. Second to them however come 
the secret and benevolent societies, which we now consider. 

34. Secret and Beneficial Societies, and Co-operative 
Business. — The art of organization is the one hardest for 
the freedman to learn, and the Negro shows his greatest 
deficiency here ; whatever success he has had has been 
shown most conspicuously in his church organizations, 
where the religious bond greatly facilitated union. In 
other organizations where the bond was weaker his success 
has been less. From early times the precarious economic 
condition of the free Negroes led to many mutual aid 
organizations. They were very simple in form : an initia- 
tion fee of small amount was required, and small regular 
payments ; in case of sickness, a weekly stipend was paid, 
and in case of death the members were assessed to pay for 
the funeral and help the widow. Confined to a few mem- 
bers, all personally known to each other, such societies 



19 Rev. Charles Daniel, in the Nazarene. The writer hardly does 
justice to the weird witchery of those hymns sung thus rudely. 



222 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

were successful from the beginning. We hear of them in 
the eighteenth century, and by 1838 there were 100 such 
small groups, with 7448 members, in the city. They paid 
in $18,851, gave $14,172 in benefits, and had $10,023 on 
hand. Ten years later about eight thousand members 
belonged to 106 such societies. Seventy-six of these had 
a total membership of 5187. They contributed usually 25 
cents to siyi cents a month; the sick received $1.50 to 
$3.00 a week, and death benefits of $10.00 to $20.00 were 
allowed. The income of these seventy-six societies was 
$16,814.23 ; 681 families were assisted. 20 

These societies have since been superceded to some 
extent by other organizations ; they are still so numerous, 
however, that it is impractical to catalogue all of them ; 
there are probably several hundred of various kinds in 
the city. 

To these were early added the secret societies, which 
naturally had great attraction for Negroes. A Boston 
lodge of black Masons received a charter direct from Eng- 
land, and independent orders of Odd Fellows, Knights of 
Pythias, etc., grew up. During the time that Negroes 
were shut out of the public libraries there were many 
literary associations with libraries. These have now dis- 
appeared. Outside the churches the most important 
organizations among Negroes to-day are : Secret societies, 
beneficial societies, insurance societies, cemeteries, building 
and loan associations, labor unions, homes of various sorts 
and political clubs. The most powerful and flourishing 
secret order is that of the Odd Fellows, which has two 
hundred thousand members among American Negroes. In 
Philadelphia there are 19 lodges with a total membership 
of 1 188, and $46,000 worth of property. Detailed statis- 
tics are in the next table : 21 



20 Cf. report of inquiries in above years. 

21 From Report of Fourth Annual Meeting of the District Grand Lodge 
of Pennsylvania, G. U. of O. F., 1896. 



Sect. 34.] Societies and Co-operative Business. 



223 



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224 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

This order owns two halls in the city worth perhaps 
$40,000. One is occupied by the officers of the Grand 
Lodge, which employs several salaried officials and clerks. 
The order conducts a newspaper called the Odd Fellows* 
Journal. 

There are 19 lodges of Masons in the city, 6 chapters, 
5 command eries, 3 of the Scottish Rite, and 1 drill corp. 
The Masons are not so well organized and conducted as 
the Odd Fellows, and detailed statistics of their lodges are 
not available. They own two halls worth at least $50,000, 
and probably distribute- not less than $3000 to $4000 annu- 
ally in benefits. 

Beside these chief secret orders there are numerous 
others, such as the American Protestant Association, which 
has many members, the Knights of Pythias, the Galilean 
Fishermen, the various female orders attached to these, 
and a number of others. It is almost impossible to get 
accurate statistics of all these orders, and any estimate of 
their economic activity is liable to considerable error. 
However, from general observation and the available 
figures, it seems fairly certain that at least four thousand 
Negroes belong to secret orders, and that these orders 
annually collect at least $25,000, part of which is paid out 
in sick and death benefits, and part invested. The real 
estate, personal property and funds of these orders amount 
to no less than $125,000. 

The function of the secret society is partly social inter- 
course and partly insurance. They furnish pastime from 
the monotony of work, a field for ambition and intrigue, 
a chance for parade, and insurance against misfortune. 
Next to the church they are the most popular organiza- 
tions among Negroes. 

Of the beneficial societies we have already spoken in 
general. A detailed account of a few of the larger and 
more typical organizations will now suffice. The Quaker 
City Association is a sick and death benefit society, seven 



Sect. 34.] Societies and Co-operative Business. 225 

years old, which confines its membership to native Phila- 
delphians. It has 280 members and distributes $1400 to 
$1500 annually. The Sons and Daughters of Delaware 
is over fifty years old. It has 106 members, and owns 
$3000 worth of real estate. The Fraternal Association 
was founded in 1861 ; it has 86 members, and distributes 
about $300 a year. It " was formed for the purpose of 
relieving the wants and distresses of each other in the 
time of affliction and death, and for the furtherance of 
such benevolent views and objects as would tend to estab- 
lish and maintain a permanent and friendly intercourse 
among them in their social relations in life." The Sons 
of St. Thomas was founded in 1823 an ^ was originally 
confined to members of St. Thomas Church. It was 
formerly a large organization, but now has 80 members, 
and paid out in 1896, $416 in relief. It has $1500 invested 
in government bonds. In addition to these there is the 
Old Men's Association, the Female Cox Association, the 
Sons and Daughters of Moses, and a large number of other 
small societies. 

There is arising also a considerable number of insur- 
ance societies, differing from the beneficial in being con- 
ducted by directors. The best of these are the Crucifixion 
connected with the Church of the Crucifixion, and the 
Avery, connected with Wesley A. M. E. Z. Church ; both 
have a large membership and are well conducted. Nearly 
every church is beginning to organize one or more such 
societies, some of which in times past have met disaster 
by bad management. The True Reformers of Virginia, the 
most remarkable Negro beneficial organization yet started, 
has several branches here. Beside these there are number- 
less minor societies, as the Alpha Relief, Knights and 
Ladies of St. Paul, the National Co-operative Society, Col- 
ored Women's Protective Association, L,oyal Beneficial, etc. 
Some of these are honest efforts and some are swindling 
imitations of the pernicious white petty insurance societies.. 
15 



226 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

There are three building and loan associations conducted 
by Negroes. Some of the directors in one are white, all 
the others are colored. The oldest association is the Cen- 
tury, established October 26, 1886. Its board of directors 
is composed of teachers, upholsterers, clerks, restaurant 
keepers and undertakers, and it has had marked success. 
Its income for 1897 was about $7000. It has $25,000 in 
loans outstanding. 

h& /jvj ie B erean Building and Loan Association was estab- 
lished in 1888 in connection with Berean Presbyterian 
Church ; 13 of the 19 officers and directors are colored. 
Its income for 1896 was nearly $30,000, and it had $60,000 
in loans ; 43 homes have been bought through this asso- 
ciation. 22 

The Pioneer Association is composed entirely of Negroes, 
the directors being caterers, merchants and upholsterers. 
It was founded in 1888 and has an office on Pine street. 
Its receipts in 1897 were $9000, and it had about $20,000 
in loans. Nine homes are at present being bought in this 
association. 

There are arising some loan associations to replace the 
pawn-shops and usurers to some extent. The Small Loan 
Association, for instance, was founded in 1891, and has the 
following report for 1898 : 

Shares sold I1144 00 

Assessments on shares . . . «. 114 40 

Repaid loans 4537 50 

Interest 417 06 

Cash in treasury 275 54 

Dividends paid 222 67 

Loans made 4626 75 

Expenses 82 02 

The Conservative is a similar organization, consisting of 
ten members. 

22 This association has issued a valuable little pamphlet called " Helpful 
Hints on Home," which it distributes. This explains the object and 
•methods of building and loan associations. 



Sect. 34.] Societies and Co-operative Business. 227 

This account has attempted to touch only the chief and 
characteristic organizations, and makes no pretensions to 
completeness. It shows, however, how intimately bound 
together the Negroes of Philadelphia are. These associa- 
tions are largely experiments, and as such, are continually 
reaching out to new fields. The latest ventures are toward 
labor unions, co-operative stores and newspapers.. There 
are the following labor unions, among others : The Caterers' 
Club, the Private Waiters' Association, the Coachmen's 
Association, the Hotel Brotherhood (of waiters), the Cigar- 
makers' Union (white and colored), the Hod-Carriers' Union, 
the Barbers' Union, etc. 

Of the Caterers' Club we have already heard. 23 The 
Private Waiters' Association is an old beneficial order with 
well-to-do members. The private waiter is really a skilled 
workman of high order, and used to be well paid. Next 
to the guild of caterers he ranked as high as any class of 
Negro workmen before the war — indeed the caterer was 
but a private waiter further developed. Consequently this 
labor union is still jealous and exclusive and contains 
some members long retired from active work. The Coach- 
men's Association is a similar society; both these organiza- 
tions have a considerable membership, and make sick and 
death benefits and social gatherings a feature. The Hotel 
Brotherhood is a new society of hotel waiters and is con- 
ducted by young men on the lines of the regular trades 
unions, with which it is more or less affiliated in many 
cities. It has some relief features and considerable social 
life. It strives to open and keep open work for colored 
waiters and often arranges to divide territory with whites, 
or to prevent one set from supplanting the other. The 
Cigar-makers' Union is a regular trades union with both 
white and Negro members. It is the only union in Phila- 
delphia where Negroes are largely represented. No friction 



23 



See supra , p. 119 ff. 



228 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII. 

is apparent. The Hod-Carriers' Union is large and of consid- 
erable age but does not seem to be very active. A league of 
Colored Mechanics was formed in 1897 ^ u ^ did not accom- 
plish anything. There was before the war a league of this 
sort which nourished, and there undoubtedly will be 
attempts of this sort in the future until a union is effected. 24 

The two co-operative grocery stores, and the caterers* 
supply store have been mentioned. 25 There was a dubious 
attempt in 1896 to organize a co-operative tin-ware store 
which has not yet been successful. 26 

With all this effort and movement it is natural that the 
Negroes should want some means of communication. This 
they have in the following periodicals conducted wholly by 
Negroes : 



24 The College Settlement was interested in this organization, but the 
movement was evidently premature. 

25 See supra, p. 117 and p. 119. 

26 An interesting advertisement of this venture is appended; it is a. 
curious mixture of business, exhortation and simplicity. The present 
state of the enterprise is not known : 

" NOTICE TO AU,. 

"WE CAU, YOUR ATTENTION 
"To This Work. 

"THE UNION TIN- WARE MANUFACTURING CO. 

11 Is now at work, chartered under the laws of the States of New Jersey 
and Pennsylvania. 

"The purpose of said Company is to manufacture everything in the 
TIN- WARE LINE that the law allows, and to sell stock all over the 
United States of America; and put in members enough in every city to 
open a Union Tin-Ware Store, and if the promoter finds that he has 
not enough members in a city to open a Tin- Ware Store, then he shall 
open it with money from the factory. SHARES are $10.00, they can be 
paid on installment plan; and you do not have any monthly dues to pay, 
but on the 20th of every December or whenever the Stockholders 
appoint the time, the dividend will be declared. 

" We will make this one of the grandest organizations ever witnessed 
by the Race, if you lend us your aid. This Store will contain Groceries, 
Dry Goods and Tin- Ware, and you can do your dealing at your own- 
store. This factory will give you work, and learn you a trade. ' * 



Sect. 34.] Societies and Co-operative Business. 229 

A. M. B. Church Review, quarterly, 8vo, about ninety- 
five pages. 

Christian Recorder, eight page weekly newspaper. (Both 
these are organs of the A. M. E. Church.) 

Baptist Christian Banner, four page weekly newspaper. 
(Organ of the Baptists.) 

Odd Fellows' Journal, eight page weekly newspaper. 
(Organ of Odd fellows.) 

Weekly Tribune, eight page weekly newspaper, seven- 
teen years established. 

The Asto?iisher, eight page weekly newspaper, (German- 
town). 

The Standard-Echo, four page weekly newspaper, (since 
suspended). 

The Tribune is the chief news sheet and is filled generally 
with social notes of all kinds, and news of movements 
among Negroes over the country. Its editorials are usually 
of little value chiefly because it does not employ a respon- 
sible editor. It is in many ways however an interesting 
paper and represents pluck and perseverance on the 
part of its publisher. The Astonisher and Standard 
Echo are news sheets. The first is bright but crude. 
The Recorder, Banner and Journal are chiefly filled 
with columns of heavy church and lodge news. The 
Review has had an interesting history and is probably the 
best Negro periodical of the sort published; it is often 
weighted down by the requirements of church politics, and 
compelled to publish some trash written by aspiring candi- 
dates for office; but with all this it has much solid matter 
and indicates the trend of thought among Negroes to some 
extent. It has greatly improved in the last few years. 
Many Negro newspapers from other cities circulate here 
and widen the feeling of community among the colored 
people of the city. 

One other kind of organization has not yet been men- 
tioned, the political clubs, of which there are probably 



230 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XIL 

fifty in the city. They will be considered in another 
chapter. 

35. Institutions. — The chief Negro institutions of the 
city are : The Home for Aged and Infirmed Colored Per* 
sons, the Douglass Hospital and Training School, the 
Woman's Exchange and Girls' Home, three cemetery 
companies, the Home for the Homeless, the special schools, 
as the Institute for Colored Youth, the House of Industry, 
Raspberry street schools and Jones' school for girls, the 
Y. M. C. A., and University Extension Centre. 

The Home for the Aged, situated at the corner of Girard 
and Belmont avenues, was founded by a Negro lumber 
merchant, Steven Smith, and is conducted by whites and 
Negroes. It is one of the best institutions of the kind; its 
property is valued at $400,000, and it has an annual 
income of $20,000. It has sheltered 558 old people since 
its foundation in 1864. 

The Douglass Memorial Hospital and Training School is 
a curious example of the difficult position of Negroes : for 
years nearly every hospital in Philadelphia has sought to 
exclude Negro women from the course in nurse-training, 
and no Negro physician could have the advantage of 
hospital practice. This led to a movement for a Negro 
hospital ; such a movement however was condemned 
by the whites as an unnecessary addition to a bewilder- 
ing number of charitable institutions ; by many of the 
best Negroes as a concession to prejudice and a draw- 
ing of the color line. Nevertheless the promoters 
insisted that colored nurses were efficient and needed 
training, that colored physicians needed a hospital, and 
that colored patients wished one. Consequently the Doug- 
lass Hospital has been established and its success seems to 
warrant the effort. 27 



27 Since the opening of the hospital colored nurses have had less 
trouble in white institutions, and one colored physician has been 



Sect. 35.] Institutions. 231 

The total income for the year 1895-96 was $4,656.31; 
sixty-one patients were treated during the year, and thirty- 
two operations performed ; 987 out-patients were treated. 
The first class of nurses was graduated in 1897. 

The Woman's Exchange and Girls' Home is conducted 
by the principal of the Institute for Colored Youth at 756 
South Twelfth street. The exchange is open at stated 
times during the week, and various articles are on sale. 
Cheap lodging and board is furnished for a few school 
girls and working girls. So far the work of the exchange 
has been limited but it is- slowly growing, and is certainly 
a most deserving venture. 28 

The exclusion of Negroes from cemeteries has, as before 
mentioned, led to the organization of three cemetery com- 
panies, two of which are nearly fifty years old. The Olive 
holds eight acres of property in the Twenty-fourth Ward, 
claimed to be worth $100,000. It has 900 lot owners ; the 
Lebanon holds land in the Thirty-sixth Ward, worth at 
least '$75,000. The Merion is a new company which 
owns twenty-one acres in Montgomery County, worth per- 
haps $30,000. These companies are in the main well- 
conducted, although the affairs of one are just now some- 
what entangled. 

The Home for the Homeless is a refuge and home for 
the aged connected with the Church of the Crucifixion. 



appointed intern in a large hospital. Dr. N. F. Mossell was chiefly 
instrumental in founding the Douglass Hospital. 

28 In connection with this work, Bethel Church often holds small 
receptions for servant girls on their days off, when refreshments are 
served and a pleasant time is spent. The following is a note of a similar 
enterprise at another church : " The members of the Berean Union 
have opened a ' Y ' parlor, where young colored girls employed as domes- 
tics can spend their Thursday afternoon both pleasantly and profitably. 
The parlor is open from 4 until 10 p. m., every Thursday, and members 
of the Union are present to welcome them. A light supper is served for 
ten cents. The evening is spent in literary exercises and social talk. 
The parlor is in the Berean Church, South College avenue, near Twen- 
tieth street." 



232 Organized Life of Negroes, [Chap. XII. 

It is supported largely by whites but not entirely. It has 
an income of about $500. During 1896, n 08 lodgings 
were furnished to ninety women, 8384 meals given to 
inmates, 2705 to temporary lodgers, 2078 to transients, and 
812 to invalids. 

The schools have all been mentioned before. The 
Young Men's Christian Association has had a checkered 
history, chiefly as it would seem from the wrong policy 
pursued ; there is in the city a grave and dangerous lack of 
proper places of amusement and recreation for young men. 
To fill this need a properly conducted Young Men's 
Christian Association, with books and newspapers, baths, 
bowling alleys and billiard tables, conversation rooms and 
short interesting religious services is demanded ; it would 
cost far less than it now costs the courts to punish the 
petty misdemeanors of young men who do not know how to 
amuse themselves. Instead of such an institution however 
the Colored Y. M. C. A. has been virtually an attempt to 
add another church to the numberless colored churches of 
the city, with endless prayer-meetings and loud gospel 
hymns, in dingy and uninviting quarters. Consequently 
the institution is now temporarily suspended. It had 
accomplished some good work by its night schools, and 
social meetings. 

Since the organization of the Bainbridge Street Univer- 
sity Extension Centre, May 10, 1895, lectures have been 
delivered at the Church of the Crucifixion, Eighth and 
Bainbridge streets, by Rev. W. Hudson Shaw, on English 
History; by Thomas Whitney Surette, on the Develop- 
ment of Music; by Henry W. Elson, on American His- 
tory, and by Hilaire Belloc, on Napoleon. Each of these 
lecturers, except Mr. Belloc, has given a course of six 
lectures on the subject stated, and classes have been held 
in connection with each course. The attendance has 
been above the average as compared with other Centres 
in the city. 



Sect. 36.] The Experiment of Organization. 233 

Beside these efforts there are various embryonic institu- 
tions : A day nursery in the Seventh Ward by the Woman's 
Missionary Society, a large organization which does much 
charitable work ; an industrial school near the city, etc. 
There are, too, many institutions conducted by whites for 
the benefit of Negroes, which will be mentioned in another 
place. 

Much of the need for separate Negro institutions has in 
the last decade disappeared, by reason of the opening of 
the doors of the public institutions to colored people. 
There are many Negroes, who on this account strongly 
oppose efforts which they fear will tend to delay further 
progress in these lines. On the other hand, thoughtful 
men see that invaluable training and discipline is coming 
to the race through these institutions and organizations, and 
they encourage the formation of them. 

36. The Experiment of Organization. — L,ooking back 
over the field which we have thus reviewed — the churches, 
societies, unions, attempts at business co-operation, institu- 
tions and newspapers — it is apparent that the largest hope 
for the ultimate rise of the Negro lies in this mastery of 
the art of social organized life. To be sure, compared 
with his neighbors, he has as yet advanced but a short 
distance ; we are apt to condemn this lack of unity, the 
absence of carefully planned and laboriously executed 
effort among these people, as a voluntary omission — a bit 
of carelessness. It is far more than this, it is lack of social 
education, of group training, and the lack can only be sup- 
plied by a long, slow process of growth. And the chief 
value of the organizations studied is that they are 
evidences of growth. Of actual accomplishment they 
have, to be sure, something to show, but nothing to boast 
of inordinately. The churches are far from ideal asso- 
ciations for fostering the higher life — rather they combine 
too often intrigue, extravagance and show, with all their 
work, saving and charity ; their secret societies are often 



234 Organized Life of Negroes. [Chap. XII.. 

diverted from their better ends B by scheming and dishonest 
officers, and by the temptation of tinsel and braggadocio ; 
their beneficial associations, along with all their good work r , 
have an unenviable record of business inefficiency and 
internal dissension. And yet all these and the other agen- 
cies have accomplished much, and their greatest accom- 
plishment is stimulation of effort to further and more 
effective organization among a disorganized and headless 
host. All this world of co-operation and subordination 
into which the white child is in most cases born is, we- 
must not forget, new to the slave's sons. They have been 
compelled to organize before they knew the meaning of 
organization ; to co-operate with those of their fellows to* 
whom co-operation was an unknown term ; to fix and fasten 
ideas of leadership and authority among those who had 
always looked to others for guidance and command. For 
these reasons the present efforts of Negroes in working 
together along various lines are peculiarly promising for 
the future of both races. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE NEGRO CRIMINAL. 

37. History of Negro Crime in the City. 1 — From his 
earliest advent the Negro, as was natural, has figured 
largely in the criminal annals of Philadelphia. Only such 
superficial study of the , American Negro as dates his 
beginning with 1863 can neglect this past record of crime 
in studying the present. Crime is a phenomenon of organ- 
ized social life, and is the open rebellion of an individual 
against his social environment. Naturally then, if men 
are suddenly transported from one environment to another, 
the result is lack [of harmony with the new conditions ; 
lack of harmony with the new physical surroundings lead- 
ing to disease and death or modification of physique ; lack 
of harmony with social surroundings leading to crime. 
Thus very early in the history of the colony characteristic 
complaints of the disorder of the Negro slaves is heard. 
In 1693, July 11, the Governor and Council approved an 
ordinance, " Upon the Request of some of the members of 
Council, that an order be made by the Court of Quarter 
Sessions for the Countie of Philadelphia, the 4th July 
instant (proceeding upon a presentment of the Grand Jurie 
for the bodie of the sd countie), agt the tumultuous gath- 
erings of the Negroes of the towne of Philadelphia, on the 



1 Throughout this chapter the basis of induction is the number of 
prisoners received at different institutions and not the prison population 
at particular times. This avoids the mistakes and distortions of the 
latter method. (Cf. Falkner : "Crime and the Census;" Publications 
of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, No. 190) • 
Many writers on Crime among Negroes, as e. g.> F. I,. Hoffman, and all 
who use the Eleventh Census uncritically, have fallen into numerous 
mistakes and exaggerations by carelessness on this point. 

(235) 



236 The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 

first dayes of the weeke, ordering the Constables of Phila- 
delphia, or anie other person whatsoever, to have power to 
take up Negroes, male or female, whom they should find 
gadding abroad on the said first dayes of the weeke, with- 
out a ticket from their Mr. or Mris., or not in their Compa, 
or to carry them to gaole, there to remain that night, and 
that without meat or drink, and to Cause them to be pub- 
lickly whipt next morning with 39 L,ashes, well L,aid on, 
on their bare backs, for which their set Mr. or Mris. should 
pay i5d. to the whipper," etc. 2 

Penn himself introduced a law for the special trial and 
punishment of Negroes very early in the history of the 
colony, as has been noted before. 3 The slave code finally 
adopted was mild compared with the legislation of the 
period, but it was severe enough to show the unruly char- 
acter of many of the imported slaves. 4 

Especially in Philadelphia did the Negroes continue to 
give general trouble, not so much by serious crime as by 
disorder. In 1732, under Mayor Hasel, the City Council 
" taking under Consideration the frequent and tumultuous 
meetings of the Negro Slaves, especially on Sunday, Gam- 
ing, Cursing, Swearing, and committing many other Dis- 
orders, to the great Terror and Disquiet of the Inhabitants 
of this city," ordered an ordinance to be drawn up against 
such disturbances. 5 Again, six years later, we hear of the 
draft of another city ordinance for " the more Effectual 
suppressing Tumultuous meetings and other disorderly 
doings of the Negroes, Mulattos and Indian servts. and 
slaves." 6 And in 1741, August 17, "frequent complaints 
having been made to the Board that many disorderly per- 
sons meet every ev'g about the Court house of this city, 



2 "Pennsylvania Colonial Records," I, 380-81. 

3 See Chapter III, and Appendix B. 

* Cf. "Pennsylvania Statutes at Large," Ch. 56. 

5 " Watson's Annals," I, 62. 

6 Ibid. 



Sect. 37.] History of Negro Crime. 2^1 

and great numbers of Negroes and others sit there with 
milk pails and other things late at night, and many disor- 
ders are there committed against the peace and good gov- 
ernment of this city," Council ordered the place to be 
cleared " in half an hour after sunset." 7 

Of the graver crimes by Negroes we have only reports 
here and there which do not make it clear how frequently 
such crimes occurred. In 1706 a slave is arrested for 
setting fire to a dwelling; in 1738 three Negroes are 
hanged in neighboring parts of New Jersey for poisoning 
people, while at Rocky Hill a slave is burned alive for 
killing a child and burning a barn. Whipping of Negroes 
at the public whipping post was frequent, and so severe 
was the punishment that in 1743 a slave brought up to be 
whipped committed suicide. In 1762 two Philadelphia 
slaves were sentenced to death for felony and burglary \ 
petitions were circulated in their behalf but Council was 
obdurate. 8 

Ivittle special mention of Negro crime is again met with 
until the freedmen under the act of 1780 began to congre- 
gate in the city and other free immigrants joined them. 
In 1809 the leading colored churches united in a society to 
suppress crime and were cordially endorsed by the public 
for this action. After the war immigration to the city 
increased and the stress of hard times bore heavily on the 
lower classes. Complaints of petty thefts and murderous 
assaults on peaceable citizens now began to increase, and 
in numbers of cases they were traced to Negroes. The better 
class of colored citizens felt the accusation and held a 
meeting to denounce crime and take a firm stand against 
their own criminal class. A little later the Negro riots 
commenced, and they received their chief moral support 
from the increasing crime of Negroes ; a Cuban slave 



7 Ibid., pp. 62-63. 

8 " Pennsylvania Colonial Records," II, 275; IX, 6; "Watson's An- 
nals," I, 309. 



2 3 8 



The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 



brained his master with a hatchet, two other murders by 
Negroes followed, and gambling, drunkenness and debauch- 
ery were widespread wherever Negroes settled. The 
terribly vindictive insurrection of Nat Turner in a neigh- 
boring State frightened the citizens so thoroughly that 
when some black fugitives actually arrived at Chester from 
Southampton County, Virginia, the Legislature was 
hastily appealed to, and the whole matter came to a climax 
in the disfranchisement of the Negro in 1837, and the riots 
in the years 1830 to 1840. 9 

Some actual figures will give us an idea of this, the 
worst period of Negro crime ever experienced in the city. 
The Eastern Penitentiary was opened in 1829 near the close 
of the year. The total number of persons received here for 
the most serious crimes is given in the next table. This 
includes prisoners from the Eastern counties of the State, 
but a large proportion were from Philadelphia : 10 



Years. 



1829-34 

1835-39 
1840-44 

1845-49 
1850-54 



Total 




Per Cent 


Commit- 


Negroes. 


of 


ments. 




Negroes. 


339 


99 


29.O 


878 


356 


40.5 


701 


209 


29.8 


633 


151 


23.8 


664 


106 


16.O 



Per Cent of 
Negroes 
of Total 

Population. 



8.27(1830) 
7.39 ( 1840) 
7.39(1840) 
483 (1850 
4.83(1850) 



Or to put it differently the problem of Negro crime in 
Philadelphia from 1830 to 1850 arose from the fact that 
less than one-fourteenth of the population was responsible 
for nearly a third of the serious crimes committed. 

These figures however are apt to relate more especially 
to a criminal class. A better measure of the normal 
criminal tendencies of the group would perhaps be found 
in the statistics of Moyamensing, where ordinary cases of 
crime and misdemeanor are confined and which contains 



9 Cf. Chapter IV. 

10 Reports Eastern Penitentiary. 



Sect. 37.] 



History of Negro Crime. 



239 



only county prisoners. The figures for Moyamensing 
prison are : 



Years. 



1836-45 
1846-55 



Total 



Total 

White 

Prisoners 

Received. 


Total 

Negro 

Prisoners 

Received. 


Per Cent 
of Negroes 

of Total 
Prisoners. 


1 164 
1478 

2642 


I087 
696 


48.29 
32.OI 


1783 


* • • 



Per Cent of 
Negroes 
of Total 

Population. 

7.39 (1840) 
4.83(1850) 



Here we have even a worse showing than before ; in 
1896 the Negroes forming 4 per cent of the population fur- 
nish 9 per cent of the arrests, but in 1850 being 5 per cent 
of the population they furnished 32 per cent of the prisoners 
received at the county prison. Of course there are some 
considerations which must not be overlooked in interpreting 
these figures for 1836-55. It must be remembered that 
the discrimination against the Negro was much greater 
then than now : he was arrested for less cause and given 
longer sentences than whites. 11 Great numbers of those 
arrested and committed for trial were never brought to trial 
so that their guilt could not be proven or disproven ; of 
737 Negroes committed for trial in six months of the year 
1837, it is stated that only 123 were actually brought to 
trial ; of the prisoners in the Eastern Penitentiary, 1829 to 
1846, 14 per cent of the whites were pardoned and 2 per 
cent of the Negroes. All these considerations increase the 
statistics to the disfavor of the Negro. 12 Nevertheless 
making all reasonable allowances it is undoubtedly true 
that the crime of Negroes in this period reached its high 
tide for this city. 

The character of the crimes committed by Negroes 
compared with whites is shown by the following table, 



11 Average length of sentences for whites in Eastern Penitentiary 
during nineteen years, 2 years 8 months 2 days ; for Negroes, 3 years 
3 months 14 days. Cf. " Health of Convicts " (pam.), pp. 7, 8. 

u Ibid. t "Condition of Negroes," 1838, pp. 15-18; "Condition," etc., 
1848, pp. 26, 27. 



24-0 



The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 



which covers the offences of 1359 whites and 718 Negroes 
committed to the Eastern Penitentiary, 1 829-1 846. If we 
take simply petty larceny we find that 48. 8 per cent of the 
whites, and 55 per cent of the Negroes were committed for 
this offence. 13 



Kinds of Crime. 


Whites. 


N egroes. 


Number. 


Per Cent. 


Number. 


Per Cent. 


Offences vs. the person 

Offences vs. property with violence . 
Offences vs. property without violence 
Malicious offences vs. property . . . 
Offences vs. Currency and forgery . . 


166 

191 , 
873 

22 
167 

40 


II.4 

i3-i 

59-8 

1-5 

11. 5 

27.0 


89 
165 
432 

14 

7 
11 


12.4 

22.9 

60.2 

2.0 

I.O 

i-5 




1359 


100 


718 


100 



38. Negro Crime Since the War. — Throughout the 
land there has been since the war a large increase in crime, 
especially in cities. This phenomenon would seem to 
have sufficient cause in the increased complexity of life, 
in industrial competition, and the rush of great numbers 
to the large cities. It would therefore be natural to sup- 
pose that the Negro would also show this increase in 
criminality and, as in the case of all lower classes, that he 
would show it in greater degree. His evolution has, how- 
ever, been marked by some peculiarities. For nearly two 
decades after emancipation he took little part in many of 
the great social movements about him for obvious reasons. 
His migration to city life, therefore, and his sharing in the 
competition of modern industrial life, came later than was 
the case with the mass of his fellow citizens. The Negro 
began to rush to the cities in large numbers after 1880, 
and consequently the phenomena attendant on that 
momentous change of life are tardier in his case. His rate 
of criminality has in the last two decades risen rapidly, 
and this is a parallel ^phenomenon to the rapid rise of the 



13 " Condition of Negroes," 1849, PP- 28 » 2 9- " Condition," etc., 1838, 
pp. 15-18. 



Sect. 38.] Negro Crime Since the War, 241 

white criminal record two or three decades ago. Moreover, 
in the case of the Negro there were special causes for the 
prevalence of crime : he had lately been freed from serf- 
dom, he was the object of stinging oppression and ridicule, 
and paths of advancement open to many were closed to 
him. Consequently the class of the shiftless, aimless, idle, 
discouraged and disappointed was proportionately larger. 

In the city of Philadelphia the increasing number of 
bold and daring crimes committed by Negroes in the last 
ten years has focused the attention of the city on this sub- 
ject. There is a widespread feeling that something is 
wrong with a race that is responsible for so much crime, 
and that strong remedies are called for. One has but to 
visit the corridors of the public buildings, when the courts 
are in session, to realize the part played in law-breaking by 
the Negro population. The various slum centres of the 
colored criminal population have lately been the objects of 
much philanthropic effort, and the work there has aroused 
discussion. Judges on the bench have discussed the mat- 
ter. Indeed, to the minds of many, this is the real Negro 
problem. 14 

That it is a vast problem a glance at statistics will 
show; 15 and since 1880 it has been steadily growing. At 
the same time crime is a difficult subject to study, more 



14 " The large proportion of colored men who, in April, had been before 
the criminal court, led Judge Gordon to make a suggestion when he yes- 
terday discharged the jurors for the term. ' It would certainly seem, ' said 
the Court, ' that the philanthropic colored people of the community, of 
whom there are a great many excellent and intelligent citizens sincerely 
interested in the welfare of their race, ought to see what is radically 
wrong that produces this state of affairs and correct it, if possible. 
There is nothing in history that indicates that the colored race has a pro- 
pensity to acts of violent crime; on the contrary, their tendencies are 
most gentle, and they submit with grace to subordination.' " Philadel- 
phia Record, April 29, 1893; Cf. Record, May 10 and 12; Ledger, May 10,. 
and Times, May 22, 1893. 

15 Except as otherwise noted, the statistics of this section are from the 
official reports of the police department. 

*i6 



242 



The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 



difficult to analyze into its sociological elements, and most 
difficult to cure or suppress. It is a phenomenon that 
stands not alone, but rather as a symptom of countless 
wrong social conditions. 

The simplest, but crudest, measure of crime is found 
in the total arrests for a period of years. The value of 
such figures is lessened by the varying efficiency and dili- 
gence of the police, by discrimination in the administration 
of law, and by unwarranted arrests. And yet the figures 
roughly measure crime. The total arrests and the number 
of Negroes is given in the next table for thirty-two years, 
with a few omissions : 



Arrests in Philadelphia, 1864-96. 



1864 
1865 
1869 
1870 

1873 
1874 
1875 
1876 

1877 
1879 
1880 
1881 
1882 
1883 
1884 
1885 
1886 
1887 
1888 
1*89 
1890 
1891 
1892 

1893 
1894 

1895 
1896 



Date. 



Total 
Number 
Arrested. 



34,221 
43,226 
38,749 
3^717 
30,400 

32,H4 

34,553 



44,22o 
40,714 

44,097 
45,129 
46, 130 

45,295 
49,468 

5i,4i8 



57,95i 
46,899 

42,673 
49,148 
53,184 
52,944 
57,297 
61,478 

60,347 
58,072 



Total 
Negroes 
Arrested. 



3,U4 
2,722 
2,907 
2,070 
1,380 
1,257 

1.539 

2,524 
2,360 
2,204 

2,327 
2,183 
2,022 

2,134 
2,662 

3,256 
2,910 
2,614 
3,167 
3,544 
3,43i 
4,078 
4,805 

5,137 
5,302 



Percentage 
of Negroes. 



9-1 
6-3 
7-5 
6-5 
4.5 
3-9 

4-5 

5-7 
5-8 
4.98 
5-ii 

4-73 
4.46 

4-3i 
5-H 



61 
20 
,10 

44 
66 

48 
11 
81 

5 
1 



We find that the total arrests in the city per annum have 
risen from 34,221 in 1864 to 61,478 in 1894, an increase of 



Sect. 38.] Negro Crime Since the War. 243 

80 per cent in crime, parallel to an increase of 85 per cent 
in population. The Negroes arrested have increased from 
3 1 14 in 1864 to 4805 in 1894, an increase of 54 per cent in 
crime, parallel to an increase of 77 per cent in the Negro 
population of the city. So, too, the percentage of Negroes 
in the total arrests is less in 1894 than in 1864. If, how- 
ever, we follow the years between these two dates we see 
an important development : 1864 was the date bounding 
the ante-bellum period of crime; thereafter the proportion of 
Negro arrests fell steadily until, in 1874, the Negroes came 
as nearly as ever furnishing their normal quota of 
arrests, 3.9 per cent from 3.28 per cent (1870) of the popu- 
lation. Then slowly there came a change. With the 
Centennial Exposition in 1876 came a stream of immi- 
grants, and once started the stream increased in speed by 
its own momentum. With this immigration the propor- 
tion of Negro arrests arose rapidly at first as a result of the 
exposition ; falling off a little in the early eighties, but with 
1885 rising again steadily and quickly to over 6 per cent 
in 1888, 6.4 per cent in 1890, 7 per cent in 1893, 8.5 per 
cent in 1895, 9 per cent in 1896. This is, as has been said 
before, but a rough indication of the amount of crime for 
which the Negro is responsible ; it must not be relied on 
too closely, for the number of arrests cannot in any city 
accurately measure wrongdoing save in a very general way; 
probably increased efficiency in the police force since 1864 
has had large effect ; and yet we can draw the legitimate 
conclusion here that Negro crime in the city is far less, 
according to population, than before the war ; that after the 
war it decreased until the middle of the seventies and then, 
coincident with the beginning of the new Negro immigra- 
tion to cities, 16 it has risen pretty steadily. 

These same phenomena can be partially verified by sta- 
tistics of Moyamensing prison. If we take the tried and 



16 Cf. Chapters IV and VII. 



244 



The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 



untried prisoners committed to this county prison from 
1876 to 1895 we find the same gradual increase of crime : 

Moyamensing Prison. 
Both Tried and Untried Prisoners. 



Date. 



1876 . . . 

1877 

1878 . . . . 

1879 • • • 

1880 . . . 

1881 . . . 

1882 . . . 

1883 . . . 

1884 . . . , 
1885 

1886 . . . . 

1887 . . . , 

1888 . . . . 

1889 . . . 

1890 . . . 

1891 . . . 

1892 ... 

1893 . . 

1894 . . . 

1895 . . • 

Total 

1876-1885 
1886-1895 



Total 
Receptions 



21,736 
22,666 

22,147 
20,736 
22,487 
22,478 
24,176 

23,245 
25,081 

24,725 
27,286 
28,964 

21,399 
18,476 
20,582 

22,745 
22,460 
25,209 

25,777 
22,584 



464,959 



229,477 
235,482 



Negroes. 



1,530 
1,460 

1,356 
1,136 
1,030 
I,l68 

1,274 
i,i75 
1,218 
1,427 
1,708 
1,724 

i,399 
i,338 
1,611 

1,723 
1,900 

2,234 
2,452 
2,317 



31,180 



12,774 
18,406 



Per Cent 
of Negroes. 



7.8 

6.44 

6.12 

5.48 
4-58 
5.19 
5.27 
5.05 
4.86 

5.77 
6.26 

5.97 
6.54 
7.24 

7.83 
7.57 
8.46 

8.86 

9-5i 
10.26 



6.70 



5-57 
7.81 



If we compare in this table the period 1876-85 with that 
of 1886-95 we find that the proportion of Negro criminals 
in the first period was 5.6 per cent, in the second 7.8 per 
cent. 

The statistics of inmates of the House of Correction, 
where mild cases and juveniles are sent, for the last few years 
go to tell the same tale : 



Year. 



189I 
1892 

1893 
1894 

1895 



Total 
Receptions 



5907 
5297 

6579 
7548 



Negroes. 



274 
254 

1055 
672 



Percentage 
of Negroes. 



4-6 
4.8 

16.O 
8.9 



Sect. 38.] * Negro Crime Since the War. 



245 



Gathering up the statistics presented let us make a 
rough diagram of some of the results. First let us scan 
the record of the Negro in serious crime, such as entails 
incarceration in the Eastern Penitentiary. In these figures 
the Philadelphia convicts are not separated from those in 
the eastern counties of the state prior to 1885. A large 
proportion of the prisoners however are from Philadelphia ; 
perhaps the net result of the error is somewhat to reduce the 
apparent proportion of Negroes in the earlier years. 
Taking then the proportion of Negro prisoners received to 
total receptions since the founding of the Penitentiary we 
have this diagram : 

Proportion of Negroes to Totai, Convicts Received at the 
Eastern Penitentiary, 1829-1895. 



% 



so 

40 

30 

20 

10 



















































































































































































































































s 



































1830 1835 1840 1845 1850 1855 I860 1865 1870 1875 1880 1885 _ 1890 1895 
Proportion of negro to total..cj*iminals. 

» \. ~i.popolation of philadelphia.. 



ii 1 1 I mi 



The general rate of criminality may be graphically repre- 
sented from the proportion of Negroes in the county prison, 



246 



The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 



although changes in the policy of the courts make the 
validity of this somewhat uncertain : 



40% 



55 



% 



3C% 



25 



% 



RO 




1620 



1830 



1840 1850 I860 1870 1880 1890 1900 

■ PROPORTION OF NEGROES IN MOYAMENSING PRISON TO TOTAL PRISONERS 
— ; — -« r- •• •• TOTAL POPULATION OF CITY 

•-PROPORTION ETC. ESTIMATED FROM ARRESTS. 



It thus seems certain 17 that general criminality as 
represented by commitments to the county prison has 
decreased markedly since 1840, and that its rapid increase 
since 1880 leaves it still far behind the decade 1830 to 1840. 
Serious crime as represented by commitments to the peni- 
tentiary shows a similar decrease but one not so marked 
indicating the presence of a pretty distinct criminal class. 



17 The chief element of uncertainty lies in the varying policy of the 
courts, as for instance, in the proportion of prisoners sent to different 
places of detention, the severity of sentence, etc. Only the general 
conclusions are insisted on here. 



Sect. 38.] Negro Crime Since the War. 247 

Convicts Committed to the Eastern Penitentiary. 



Years. 



1835-39 
1855-59 
1860-64 
1865-69 

1870-74 

1875-79 
1880-84 
1885-89* 
1890-95* 



Total Com- 




Percentage 


mitments. 


Negroes. 


of Negroes. 


878 


356 


40.5 


941 


126 


13-4 


909 


129 


14.2 


1474 


179 


12.1 


129I 


174 


13.4 


2347 


275 


1 1.7 


2282 


308 • 


13.5 


1583 


223 


14.09 


1418 


318 


22.43 



♦Only convicts from Philadelphia; the statistics for the year 1891 are not available 
and are omitted. 

The record of arrests per iooo of Negro population 
1864 to 1896 seems to confirm these conclusions for that 
period: 




25fc»M 



1855 



1870 1875 I860 1885 1890 

NEGRO ARRESTS TO EVERY 1000 OF NEGRO POPULATION. 

WHITE 1000 •• WHITE 



1895 



The increase in crime between 1890 and 1895 is not 
without pretty adequate explanation in the large Negro 



248 



The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 



immigration cityward and especially in " the terrible 
business depression of 1893 " to which the police bureau 
attributes the increase of arrests. The effect of this would 
naturally be greater among the economic substrata. 

This brings us to the question, Who are the Negro 
criminals and what crimes do they commit? To obtain 
an answer to this query let us make a special study of a 
typical group of criminals. 

39. A Special Study in Crime. 18 — During ten years 
previous to and including 1895, there were committed to 
the Eastern Penitentiary, the following prisoners from the 
city of Philadelphia : 

Philadelphia Whites and Negroes Committed to the 
Eastern Penitentiary. 



Date. 



1885. 

1886 . 

1887 . 

1888 . 

1889 . 

1890 . 
1891* 
1892 . 

1893. 
1894 . 

1895. 



Total 



Total Con- 




Per Cent of 


victions. 


Negroes. 


Negroes. 


313 


40 


12.78 ] 


347 


45 


12.97 


363 


53 


14.60 \ 14.9 


269 


39 


14-49 1 


291 


46 


15.81 J 


271 


63 


23-25 ' 




213 
320 


42 
74 


19.71 
23.13 


> 22.43 


329 


69 


20.97 I 


285 


70 


24.56 J 


3,001 


54i 


18.2 a^ 


rerage. 



* Statistics for this year were not available. Throughout this section, therefore, 
this year is omitted. 

L,et us now take the 541 Negroes who have been the 
perpetrators of the serious crimes charged to their race 
during the last ten years and see what we may learn. 
These are all criminals convicted after trial for periods 



18 For the collection of the material here compiled, I am indebted to 
Mr. David N. Fell, Jr. , a student of the Senior Class, Wharton School, 
University of Pennsylvania, in the year '96- '97. As before noted the 
figures in this Section refer to the number of prisoners received at the 
Eastern Penitentiary, and not to the total prison population at any par- 
ticular time. 



Sect. 39.] A Special Study in Crime, 249 

varying from six months to forty years. It seems plain in 
the first place that the 4 per cent of the population of 
Philadelphia having Negro blood furnished from 1885 to 
1889, 14 per cent of the serious crimes, and from 1890 to 
1895, 22 J^ P er cen t- This of course assumes that the 
convicts in the penitentiary represent with a fair degree of 
accuracy the crime committed. The assumption is not 
wholly true ; in convictions by human courts the rich 
always are favored somewhat at the expense of the poor, 
the upper classes at the expense of the unfortunate 
classes, and whites at the expense of Negroes. We know 
for instance that certain crimes are not punished in Phila- 
delphia because the public opinion is lenient, as for 
instance embezzlement, forgery, and certain sorts of 
stealing ; on the other hand a commercial community 
is apt to punish with severity petty thieving, breaches of 
the peace, and personal assault or burglary. It happens, 
too, that the prevailing weakness of ex-slaves brought up 
in the communal life of the slave plantation, without 
acquaintanceship with the institution of private property, 
is to commit the very crimes which a great centre of 
commerce like Philadelphia especially abhors. We must 
add to this the influences of social position and connections 
in procuring whites pardons or lighter sentences. It has 
been charged by some Negroes that color prejudice plays 
some part, but there is no tangible proof of this, save 
perhaps that there is apt to be a certain presumption of 
guilt when a Negro is accused, on the part of police, public 
and judge. 19 All these considerations modify somewhat 
our judgment of the moral status of the mass of Negroes. 
And yet, with all allowances, there remains a vast problem 
of crime. 

The chief crimes for which these prisoners were con- 
victed were : 



19 Witness the case of Marion Stuyvesant accused of the murder of the 
librarian, Wilson, in 1897. 



250 The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 

Theft 243 

Serious assaults on persons 139 

Robbery and burglary 85 

Rape 24 

Other sexual crimes , . . 23 

Homicide 16 

All other crimes 1 1 

Total 541 

Following these crimes from year to year we have : 



Crime. 


00 

00 

20 

2 

10 

6 
2 

40 


VO 

00 
00 

21 

8 
9 

7 
45 


00 
00 

23 
8 

11 
3 
7 
1 

53 


00 
00 
00 


00 
00 




CT> 
00 


00 


00 


00 


10 

00 


eft 

+■• 




Theft, etc , 


13 
5 

15 
2 

4 

1 

40 


24 

5 
9 
5 
4 

47 


39 

9 
12 

4 
64 


20 

7 

9 
2 

4 
42 


32 

14 

19 

I 

5 
2 

73 


23 

19 
18 

I 
3 
3 

67 


28 
8 

27 
2 

3 
2 

70 


243 

85 

139 
16 

47 
11 


Robbery and burglary . . . 
Sexual crimes 




54i 



The course of the total serious crime for this period may 
be illustrated by this diagram: 























36" 
6O- 

eo- 
40- 
ao- 
ao- 
10- 



I8S3 1886 \887 1888 1889 1690 1891 1693 1803 1894 1895 



Drawing a similar ^diagram for the different sorts of 
crime we have : , 



Sect. 39.] A Special Study in Crime. 



251 























40 
30 - 
















/ 


/ 


20- 
















/ 






















/ / 














S 

V 


-> ,*»* 





._ 


/ / 






10- 




..-"- 


••*•— 


^ 




....... 


• ** ** 


'**••*• 


.....>•< 


V-V-V-" 


t 



■ THEFT &C. 

.... HOMICIDE 



— SEXUAL CRIMES 



A38AULTS 



BURGLARY & ROBBERY 



In ten years convictions to the penitentiary for theft 
have somewhat increased, robbery, burglary and assault 
have considerably increased, homicide has remained about 
the same, and sexual crimes have decreased. Detailed 
statistics are given in the following table : 

Crimes of 541 Convicts in Eastern Penitentiary, 1885-1895. 





m 


VD 


t-~ 


00 


c^ 





n 


ro 


■>*■ 


10 


Crimes. 


00 
00 

3 


00 

00 


00 
00 

1 


00 
00 

2 


00 
00 


00 

1 


00 


00 


00 


00 






Aggravated assault and battery . . 


3 


3 


3 


7 


3 


6 


3 


6 


6 


9 


Assault to kill 


4 


6 


7 


6 

1 


6 
3 


5 


4 

1 


13 
1 


ij 


17 
1 




Murder 






3 

1 


1 


2 


• 


1 


• 


1 


T 


Assault to murder 






















2 


( 


1 


I 




20 


21 


23 


13 


24 


39 


17 


27 


22 


28 




2 


3 


3 


1 




4 


3 


5 


9 


6 






5 


5 


4 


5 


5 


4 


9 
1 


TO 


2 












2 


1 


1 


3 


2 


3 


2 


. 


. 


1 




1 
1 












1 


2 


I 






t 




1 


6 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


3 


2 


1 




1 




















Keeping bawdy house ...... 


, 


. 


4 


. 




. 


. 


. 


. 


1 


Enticing female child 


. 


. 


1 


§ 


1 












Carrying concealed weapons . . . 


1 














1 


. 






1 
















I 


1 










1 


. 


. 


1 




I 


. 


Receiving stolen goods 


. 


. 


• 


. 


. 


. 


2 


4 


I 


. 


















1 


. 


. 






















1 


Conspiracy 


40 


45 


53 


40 


47 


64 


42 


73 


I 
67 


• 


Total ... ... 


70 



252 The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 

The total crime can be classified also in this way : 

Crimes against property 328 60.63 percent. 

" " persons 157 29.02 " 

" " persons and property . 8 1.48 

Sexual crimes 48 8.87 " 

541 100. percent. 

L,et us now turn from the crime to the criminals. 497 of 
them (91.87 per cent) were males and 44 (8.13 per cent) 
were females. 296 (54.71 per cent) were single, 208 (34.45 
per cent) were married, and 37 (6.84 per cent) were widowed. 
In age they were divided as follows : 



Age. 



15-19 . . . 

20-24 • • • 

25-29 . . . 

30-39 • • • 

40-49 . . . 

50-59 • • • 

60 and over 

Total . 



Number. 



58 
170 
132 
132 

34 
10 

5 



54i 



Percentage. 



IO. 



73 ) 66.92 
} 56.19} 



24.03 

6.29 

I.85 

.91 



IOO. 



34-o8 



The mass of criminals are, it is easy to see, young single 
men under thirty. Detailed statistics of sex and age and 
conjugal condition are given in the next tables. 

Age and Sex of Convicts in Eastern Penitentiary. 
Negroes, 1885-1895. 



Ages. 

15-19 

20-24 ........ 

25-29 

30-34 

35-39 ......... 

40-44 

45-49 

50-59 

60 and over 

Total 



Males. 


Females. 


53 


5 


153 


17 


119 


13 


80 


5 


45 


2 


21 


1 


11 


1 


3 


. 


15 


• 


497 


44 



Total. 



58 
170 
132 

85 

47 
22 
12 
3 
15 



54i 



Sect. 39.] A Special Study in Crime. 253 

Conjugai, Condition of Convicts in Eastern Penitentiary. 











Males. 


Females. 


Age. 


Single. 


Married. 


Widowed 


Single. 


Married. 


Widowed. 


15-19 .... 


48 


5 


O 


4 


I 


O 


20-24 • 








117 


35 


O 


7 


9 


I 


25-29 . 








59 


54 


8 


3 


10 


O 


30-34 • 








30 


38 


6 


O 


4 


I 


35-39 • 








11 


30 


4 


O 





2 


40-49 . 








8 


16 


8 


O 


2 


O 


50-59 • 








3 


3 


4 


O 





O 


60 and over 







2 


3 


1 O 





O 



The convicts were born in the following States 

Philadelphia ' 114 

Other parts of Pennsylvania 48 

New Jersey 21 

Maryland 99 

Virginia 77 

Delaware 37 

District of Columbia 35 

North Carolina 19 

New York 11 

South Carolina 9 

Georgia 8 

Other parts of the North 13 

" " South 22 

The West 13 

Foreign Countries 15 



541 



Altogether 21 per cent were natives of Philadelphia; 
217 were born in the North, and 309, or 57 per cent, were 
born in the South. Two-thirds of the Negroes of the city, 
judging from the Seventh Ward, were born outside the 
city, and this part furnishes 79 per cent of the serious 
crime. 54 per cent were born in the South and this part 
furnishes 57 per cent of the crime, or more, since many 
giving their birthplace as in the North were really born in 
the South. 

The total illiteracy of this group reaches 26 per cent or 
adding in those who can read and write imperfectly, 34 per 
cent compared with 18 per cent for the Negroes of the 



254 



The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 



city in 1890. In other words the illiterate fifth of the 
Negro population furnished a third of the worst criminals. 

Iujteracy oe Convicts in the Eastern State Penitentiary. 







Year 








Read and Write. 


Read and Write 
Imperfectly. 


Totally Illiterate. 




Number. 


Per Cent. 


Number. 


Per Cent. 


Number. 


Per Cent. 


1885 

1886 
1887 
1888 
1889 

1890 

1892 

1893 

1894 
1895 












20 
25 
27 
25 
26 

43 
33 
55 
49 
55 


50.O 
55-55 
50.94 
64.IO 

56.52 
68.25 

78.57 
74-32 
71.OI 

78.57 


6 

4 

13 

6 

10 

3 






I5.0 

8.88 

1 24.53 

15.38 

21-74 
4.76 






14 
16 

13 
8 
10 
17 
9 
19 
20 

15 


35-o 

35-55 

24-53 

20.51 

21.74 

26.98 

21.43 
25.68 
28.99 
21.43 


Total . . . 






. . . 


358 


66.17 


42 


7.76 


141 


26.06 



Naturally as the general intelligence of a community 
increases the general intelligence of its criminals increases, 
though seldom in the same proportion, showing that some 
crime may justly be attributed to pure ignorance. The 
number of criminals able to read and write has increased 
from 50 per cent in 1885 to 79 per cent in 1895. The 
number of colored men from fifteen to thirty who can 
read and write was about 90 per cent in the Seventh Ward 
in 1896. This shows how little increased intelligence 
alone avails to stop crime in the face of other powerful 
forces. It would of course be illogical to connect these 
phenomena directly as cause and effect and make Negro 
crime the result of Negro education — in that case we 
should find it difficult to defend the public schools in most 
modern lands. Crime comes either in spite of intelligence 
or as a result of misdirected intelligence under severe 
economic and moral strain. Thus we find here, as is 
apparently true in France, Italy and Germany, increasing 
crime and decreasing illiteracy as concurrent phenomena 
rather than as cause and effect. However the rapid 
increase of intelligence in Negro convicts does point to 
some grave social changes : first, a large number of young 



Sect. 39.] A Special Study in Crime. 



255 



Negroes are in such environment that they find it easier to 
be rogues than honest men ; secondly, there is evidence of 
the rise of more intelligent and therefore more dangerous 
crime from a trained criminal class, quite different from 
the thoughtless, ignorant crime of the mass of Negroes. 

A separation of criminals according to sex and age and 
the kind of crime is of interest. (See p. 256 for males.) 

Criminals in Eastern State Penitentiary. — Females, by Age 

and Crime. 













Crimes. 


Ages. 


>> 

a 

V 

u 


c . 

gffl 

< 


t3 

v . 

> 3 

bo<5 

< 


s 



en 

3 


3 


Bawdy and 
Disorderly 
Houses. 


Accessory to 
Murder. 




15-19 
20-24 
25-29 
30-34 
35-39 
40-44 

45-49 








• 


5 
10 

11 

3 
1 
1 
1 




I 




3 
1 


2 






I 




I 
I 


I 


I 



The women are nearly all committed for stealing and 
fighting. They are generally prostitutes from the worst 
slums. The boys of fifteen to nineteen are sentenced 
largely for petty thieving : 



Whole number of male convicts, 15-19 years of age . . 

Convicted for larceny 27 

" " assault and fighting 8 

" " sexual crimes 5 

" " burglary 5 

1 ' ' ' other crimes 8 



53 



53 



Making a similar table for two other age periods we have : 



Men, 20-24 Years. 

Xarceny 

Assault 

Burglary and robbery . 
Sexual crimes 



. . 62 

. . 41 

. . 30 

. . 6 

Other crimes 14 



153 



Men, 25-29 Years. 

Larceny 45 

Assault . : 33 

Burglary and robbery .... 22 

Sexual crimes 13 

Homicide 4 

Other crimes 3 

119 



256 



The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 



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Sect. 39.] A Special Study in Crime. 257 

There is here revealed no especial peculiarity: stealing 
and fighting are ever the besetting sins of half-developed 
races. 

It would be very instructive to know how many of the 
541 criminals had been in the hands of the law before. 
This is however very difficult to ascertain correctly since 
in many, if not the majority of cases, the word .of the 
prisoner must be taken. Even these methods however 
reveal the startling fact that only 315 or 58 per cent of 
these 541 convicts are reported as being incarcerated for 
the first time. 226 or 42 per cent can be classed as 
habitual criminals, who have been convicted as follows : 



Twice 105 46.5 per cent. 

Three times . 60 26.5 

Four " 24 11.0 

Five " 19 8.0 

Six " 9 4.0 

Seven " 4 1.8 

Nine " 1 

Ten " 1 

Y 2.2 

Eleven " 2 

Twelve " 1 



226 ico per cent. 

When we realize that probably a large number of the 
other convicts are on their second or third term we begin 
to get an idea of the real Negro criminal class. 19 



19 The following Negroes were measured by the Bertillon system in 
Philadelphia during the last three years: 

1893 64 (Whites 101). 

1894 66 (Whites 248). 

1895 56 (Whites 267). 

1896 75 (Whites 347). 

The arrests by detectives for five years are given on the following 
page (258). 

17 



2 5 8 



The Negro Criminal. 



[Chap. XIII. 



A few other facts are of interest: if we tabulate crime 
according to the illiteracy of its perpetrators, we have : 

Larceny 31 per cent of illiteracy. 

Assault, burglary and homicide . . 34 " " " 
Sexual crimes 55 " " " 



Or in other words, the more serious and revolting the 
crime the larger part does ignorance play as a cause. If 
we separate prisoners convicted for the above crimes 
according to length of sentence, we have : 

Under five years 464 90.5 per cent. 

Five and under ten years 40 8.0 " 

Ten years and over. . 9 1.5 " 



513 



Of the 49 sentenced for 5 years and over, 18 or 37 per 



Crimes of Negroes Arrested by Detectives, 1878-1892. 



Crimes. 


1887. 


18S8. 


1889. 


1890. 


1891. 


1892. 


Fugitives from j ustice .... 




10 
4 
4 


2 

17 

1 
2 
2 


4 
19 


4 
18 


9 

29 1 

1^ 




10 

7 
1 

1 




1 


2 
2 


4 

3 ' 

1 








1 


. . . 


1 


. . . 


1 






1 




5 


6 


1 


1 


4 


4 
i 


False pretense 


. . . 


2 


. . . 


1 


. . . 


1 
1 


Receiving stolen goods .... 


1 
3 


4 
2 


8 

1 


3 

1 

2 

1 
5 


3 

2 
1 




Breach of peace 
















1 
1 


• • 








4 
















1 
1 
8 

1 
1 








House robbery 












Kmbezzlement . . , 


1 
































1 

1 























Sect. 40.] Some Cases of Crime, 259 

cent were illiterate ; of those sentenced for less than 5 
years 160 or 35 per cent were illiterate. 

From this study we may conclude that young men are 
the perpetrators of the serious crime among Negroes ; that 
this crime consists mainly of stealing and assault ; that 
ignorance, and immigration to the temptations of city life, 
are responsible for much of this crime but not for all ; that 
deep social causes underlie this prevalence of crime and 
they have so worked as to form among Negroes since 1864 
a distinct class of habitual criminals ; that to this criminal 
class and not to the great mass of Negroes the bulk of the 
serious crime perpetrated by this race should be charged. 

40. Some Cases of Crime. — It is difficult while studying 
crime in the abstract to realize just what the actual crimes 
committed are, and under what circumstances "they take 
place. A few typical cases of the crimes of Negroes may 
serve to give a more vivid idea than the abstract statistics 
give. Most of these cases are quoted from the daily news- 
papers. 

First let us take a couple of cases of larceny: 

Edward Ashbridge, a colored boy, pleaded guilty to the larceny of a 
quart of milk, the property of George Abbott. The boy's mother said 
he was incorrigible, and he was committed to the House of Refuge. 

William Drumgoole, colored, aged thirty-one years, of Lawrenceville, 
Va., was shot in the back and probably fatally wounded late yesterday 
afternoon by William H. McCalley, a detective, employed in the store of 
John Wanamaker, Thirteenth and Chestnut streets. Drumgoole, it is 
alleged, stole a pair of shoes from the store, and was followed by 
McCalley to the corner of Thirteenth and Chestnut streets, where he 
placed him under arrest. Drumgoole broke away from the detective's 
grasp, and running down Thirteenth street turned into Drury 
street, a small thoroughfare above Sansom street. McCalley started in 
pursuit, calling upon him to stop, but the fugitive darted into an alley- 
way, and when his pursuer came up within a few yards of him, he 
threatened to "do him up " if he followed him any further. McCalley 
drew his revolver from his pocket, and as Drumgoole again broke into a 
run he pointed the weapon at his legs and fired. Drumgoole fell to the 
ground, and when McCalley came up to him he was unable to rise. 
McCalley saw at a glance that, instead of wounding him in the leg, as he 
had intended, the bullet had lodged in the man's back. He hurriedly 



260 The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 

sought assistance, and had the wounded man taken to the Jefferson 
Hospital. McCalley then surrendered himself to Reserve Policeman 
Powell, and was taken to the Central Station. 

Fighting and quarreling among neighbors and associates 
is common in the slum districts : 

Etta Jones, colored, aged twenty-one years, residing on Hirst street, 
above Fifth, was stabbed near her home last night, it is alleged, by Lottie 
Lee, also colored, of Second and Race streets. The other woman was 
taken to the Pennsylvania Hospital, where her injuries were found to 
consist of several cuts on the left shoulder and side, none of which are 
dangerous. Her assailant was arrested later by Policeman Dean and 
locked up in the Third and Union streets station house. The assault is 
said by the police to have been the outcome of an old grudge. 

Joseph Cole, colored, aged twenty-four years, residing in Gillis' alley , 
was dangerously stabbed shortly before midnight on Saturday, as is 
alleged, by Abraham Wheeler, at the latter' s house, on Hirst street. Cole 
was taken to the Pennsylvania Hospital, where it was found the knife 
had penetrated to within a short distance of the right lung. Wheeler fled 
from the house after the cutting and eluded arrest until yesterday after- 
noon, when he was captured by Policeman Mitchell, near Fifth and 
Lombard streets. When brought to the station house Wheeler denied 
having cut Cole, but acknowledged having struck him because he was 
insulting his wife. He was locked up, however, to await the result of 
Cole's injuries. 

Sometimes servants are caught pilfering : 

Theodore Grant, colored, residing on Burton street, attempted to- 
pledge a woman's silk dress for $15 at McFillen's, Seventeenth and 
Market streets, several days ago. The pawnbroker refused, under his 
rule, to take women's raiment from a man, and told Grant to bring the 
owner. Grant went away and returned with Ella Jones, a young colored 
woman, who consented to take $7 for the dress. Since that time C. F- 
Robertson, residing at Sixtieth and Spruce streets, made complaint to the 
police of the loss of the dress, and as the result of an investigation made 
by Special Policemen Gallagher and Ewing, Grant and Ella Jones were 
arrested yesterday charged with the larceny of the silk dress, which was 
recovered. Grant admitted to the special policemen that Ella had given 
him the dress to pawn, but asserted that he had nothing to do with the 
matter except to offer to pledge the article. At a hearing before Magis- 
trate Jermon, at the City Hall, yesterday, Mr. Robertson stated that the 
girl had made a statement to him, saying that Grant had induced her to 
take the dress. He said the girl had been perfectly trustworthy up to the 
time of her acquaintance with Grant, and had been left in full charge of 
the house, and that nothing was ever missed. He said he also expected 



Sect. 40.] Some Cases of Crime. 261 

to show that Grant had been concerned in two or three robberies. Ella 
Jones, a neatly dressed girl, who said she came from Maryland, stated to 
the magistrate that Grant had been coming to see her for about a year 
past. She said he had been importuning her to take something and let 
him pawn it, so that he could raise some money, until she finally consented. 
After she started to go to her mistress' room to get the dress her heart 
failed and she turned back, but he persuaded her, telling her that Mrs. 
Robertson would not miss it, and then she took the dress. Mr. Robertson 
informed the magistrate, and Ella assented to the statement, that Grant 
had taken every cent of her earnings from her for weeks past and had also 
pawned all of her clothing, so that at the present time she was penniless 
and had not a single garment except what she wore. The magistrate said 
it was undoubtedly a hard case, but he would have to hold Grant and Ella 
on the charge of larceny, and Grant under additional bail for a further 
hearing next Thursday on the charges referred to by Mr. Robertson. The 
police say that Grant, who is a smooth-faced, cross-eyed mulatto, is a 
11 crap fiend, " and that whatever money he has managed to obtain by 
threats and cajolery from his victim, Ella Jones, has gone into the pockets 
of the small-fry gamblers. 

There is growing evidence of the appearance of a set 
of thieves of intelligence and cunning : sneak thieves, 
confidence-men, pickpockets, and "sharpers." Some typi- 
cal cases follow : 

Marion Shields and Alice Hoffman, both colored and residing on 
Fitzwater street, above Twelfth, had a further hearing yesterday before 
Magistrate South, at the City Hall, and were held for trial on the charge 
of pilfering wearing apparel, money, vases, umbrellas, surgical instru- 
ments, and other portable property from physicians' offices and houses, 
where they had made visits, under the pretence of desiring to hold 
consultations with the doctors. The Magistrate said there were ten 
cases against Marion Shields individually on which she would be placed 
under $2500 bail, and six cases against both women on which the bail 
would be $1500. For her frankness, Marion Shields was given the lighter 
sentence, one 3'ear in the Eastern Penitentiary, and Alice Hoffman was 
sentenced to eighteen months in the same institution. 

Two daring thieves yesterday entered the jewelry store of Albert 
Baudschopfs', 468^ North Eighth street, and secured a number of 
articles of jewelry from under the very eyes of the proprietor. They 
had left the store and proceeded leisurely down the street before the 
jeweller discovered his loss, with the result that before an alarm could be 
given the thieves had traveled a considerable distance. One of the men 
was captured after a long chase, but the other's whereabouts is unknown. 
About half-past one o'clock two colored men entered the store and upon 
their request were shown trays of various articles. One of the men 
engaged the proprietor in conversation while the other continued to 



262 The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 

inspect the jewelry. They said they did not intend buying then and 
would call again and opening the door walked hurriedly down the street. 
Mr. Baudschopfs says the men got away with a gold-filled watch case, a 
silver watch, three gold lockets, each set with a small diamond ; two 
dozen ladies' gold rings, not jewelled; a gold scarf pin and a man's gold 
watch. 

A crime for which Negroes of a certain class have 
become notorious is that of snatching pocketbooks on the 
streets : 

While passing down Eleventh street, near Mount Vernon, shortly after 
nine o'clock, Mrs. K. Nichun, of 1947 Warnock street, was approached 
from behind by a Negro, who snatched a pocketbook containing $2 from 
her hand and ran down a small thoroughfare towards Tenth street. Very 
few pedestrians were upon the street at the time, but two men, who were 
attracted by the woman's scream, started in pursuit of the thief. The 
latter had too much of a start, however, and escaped. 

William Williams, colored, of Dayton, O., was locked up in the Cen- 
tral Station yesterday, by Reserve Policeman A. Jones, on the charge of 
snatching a pocketbook from the hands of Mrs. Mary Tevis, of 141 
Mifflin street. The theft occurred at Eighth and Market streets. After 
securing the pocketbook Williams ran until he reached the old office of 
the city solicitor, at Sixth and Locust streets. He was followed by 
Reserve Jones, who captured him in the cellar of the building. Williams 
was taken to Eighth and Sansom streets to await the arrival of the patrol 
wagon, and while getting into the vehicle the pocketbook dropped from 
out of his trousers. 

Detectives Bond and O'Leary and Special Policeman Duffy, of the 
Eighth and Lombard streets station, arrested last night Sylvester Archer, 
of Fifth street, below Lombard, William Whittington, alias " Piggy," of 
Florida street, and William Carter, of South Fifteenth street, all colored 
and about twenty-one years of age, on the charge of assault upon and 
robbery of Mrs. Harrington Fitzgerald, wife of the editor of the Evening 
Item. The assault occurred on Monday at noon. As Mrs. Fitzgerald 
was passing Thirteenth and Spruce streets, a purse which she carried in 
her hand, and which contained $20, was snatched from her by one of 
three colored men. They took advantage of the crowd to strike her after 
the robbery had been perpetrated and escaped before her outcry was 
heard. When the men were brought to the Central Station last night 
and questioned by Captain of Detectives Miller, Whittington, it is said, 
confessed complicity in the crime. He told the captain that they had 
been following a band up Thirteenth street, and as they reached Spruce 
street Carter said, " There's a pocketbook; I'm going to get it." "All 
right; get it," came the response. Carter ran up to Mrs. Fitzgerald and 
and in a moment shouted, " I've got it ! " Then he and Archer ran up 
Thirteenth street. Each man has a criminal record, and the picture of 



Sect. 40.] Some Cases of Crime. 263 

each is in the Rogues' Gallery. Carter has just completed a six months' 
sentence for purse-snatching, while Williams and Archer have each served 
time for larceny. 

So frequent have these crimes become that sometimes 
Negroes are wrongfully suspected ; whoever snatches a 
pocketbook on a dark night is supposed to be black. 

A favorite method of stealing is to waylay and rob the 
frequenters of bawdy houses ; very little of this sort of 
crime, naturally, is reported. Here are some cases of such 
" badger thieves," as they are called : 

William Lee, colored, and Kate Hughes, a white woman, were con- 
victed of robbing Vincenzo Monacello of $10. Lee was sentenced to three 
years and three months in the Eastern Penitentiary and his accomplice 
to three years in the county prison. Mary Roach, jointly indicted with 
them, was acquitted. Monacello testified that, while walking along 
Christian street, between Eighth and Ninth streets, on Thursday night 
of last week, he was accosted by Mary Roach and accompanied her to 
her home on Essex street. Here he met Lee and Kate Hughes and 
they all drank considerable beer. Later in the night he started with 
Kate Hughes, at her suggestion, to a house further up the street. While 
on their way the prosecutor said he was struck in the face with a brick 
by Lee, after which the money was stolen from him. Mary Roach took 
the stand against the other two defendants and the case against her was 
abandoned. 

Ella Jones, colored, claiming to be from Baltimore, was arrested yes- 
terday by Policeman Dean on the charge of the larceny of a $10 bill from 
Joseph Gosch, a Pole, who came from Pittsburg on Sunday, and claims 
that while he was looking for lodging he was taken to the woman's house 
and robbed. 

From pocketbook snatching to highway robbery is but 
a step : 

Before Judge Yerkes, in Court No. i, Samuel Buckner, a young colored 
man, was convicted of robbing George C. Goddard of a gold watch and 
chain and a pocketbook containing $3. He was sentenced to ten years 
in the Eastern Penitentiary. Mr. Goddard, with his head swathed in 
bandages, was called to the stand. He said that a few minutes past mid- 
night of November 28 he was returning to his home, No. 1220 Spruce 
street, after a visit. He placed his hand in his pocket, drew out his key 
and was about to mount the steps when a dark form appeared from Dean 
street, a small, poorly-lighted thoroughfare, next door but one to his 
home, and at the same instant he was struck a violent blow full in the 



264 The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 

face with a brick. He sank [to the pavement unconscious. When he 
recovered his senses he was in the Pennsylvania Hospital. There was a 
long, deep cut on his right cheek, another across the forehead, both eyes 
were blackened and swollen, and his nose was also bruised. At the same 
time he discovered the loss of his pocketbook and jewelry. Judge Yerkes 
reviewed the facts of the case, and in imposing sentence said: " When you 
committed this offence you were absolutely indifferent as to the conse- 
quences of your cowardly attack. You rifled this man's person of all his 
valuables and left him lying unconscious on the pavement, and for aught 
you knew he might have been dead. It is necessary not only that society 
be protected from the depredations of such fiends as you, but also that an 
example be made of such ruffians. The sentence of the Court is that you 
undergo an imprisonment of ten years at labor in the Eastern Peniten- 
tiary, and stand committed until this sentence shall be complied with." 
The official record shows that Buckner was arrested on December 11, 
1893, by policeman Logan, of the Lombard street station, on the charge 
of the larceny of a purse from Mrs. Caroline Lodge, of 2416 North 
Fifteenth street, on the street, and was sentenced December 14, 1893, by 
Judge Biddle, to one year's imprisonment. 

Cases of aggravated assaults, for various reasons, are 
frequent : 

Rube Warren, colored, thirty years, of Foulkrod and Cedar streets, 
was held in $1000 bonds, by Magistrate Eisenbrown, for an alleged aggra- 
vated assault and battery on Policeman Haug, of the Frankford sta- 
tion, during a dog fight about a month ago. The policeman attempted to 
stop the fight when Warren, it is charged, assisted by several compan- 
ions, assaulted him, broke his club and took away his revolver. Daring 
the free fight that followed, in which other policemen took part, Warren 
escaped and went to Baltimore. There, it is said, he was sent to prison 
for thirty days. As soon as he was released he went back to Frankford, 
where he was arrested on Saturday night. 

William Braxton, colored, aged twenty-eight years, of Irving street, 
above Thirty-seventh, was yesterday held in $800 bail for a further hear- 
ing, charged with having committed an aggravated assault on William 
Keebler, of South Thirtieth street. The assault occurred about three 
o'clock yesterday morning on Irving street, near Thirty-seventh, where 
the colored folks of the neighborhood were having a party. Keebler and 
two friends, none of whom were colored, forced their company on the 
invited guests, it is said, and a fight ensued. Keebler was found a short 
time afterward lying in the snow with one eye almost gouged out. He 
was conveyed to the University Hospital and the police of the Woodland 
avenue station, under Acting Sergeant Ward, upon being notified of the 
affair, hurried to the Irving street house and arrested twenty of the guests 
just in the height of their merrymaking. All of them, however, were 
discharged at the hearing, upon Braxton's being recognized as the man 



Sect. 40.] Some Cases oj Crime. 265 

who struck Keebler. The physician at the hospital says that the injured 
man will very likely lose the sight of one eye. 

Gambling goes on almost openly in the slum sections 
and occasions, perhaps, more quarreling and crime than 
any other single cause. Reporters declared in 1897 that — 

" Policy playing is rampant in Philadelphia. Under the very noses of 
the police officials and, it is safe to say, with the knowledge of some of 
them, policy shops are conducted openly and with amazing audacity. 
They are doing a ' land office ' business. Hundreds of poor people every 
day place upon the infatuating lottery money that had better be spent for 
food and clothing. They actually deny themselves the necessaries of life 
to gamble away their meagre income with small chance of getting any 
return. Superintendent of Police Linden, discussing the general subject 
of policy playing with a Ledger reporter, said: 'There are not words 
enough in the dictionary to express my feelings upon this matter. I 
regard policy as the worst evil in a large city among the poor people. 
There are several reasons for this. One is that women and children may 
play. Another is that players may put a few cents on the lottery. Policy 
may do more harm than all the saloons and "speak easies " in the city. 
The price of a drink of liquor is five or ten cents and the cost of a 
" growler " is ten cents, but a man or a woman can buy two cents' worth 
of policy. The effect of this is obvious. Persons who have not the price 
of a drink may gamble away the few pennies they do possess in a policy 
shop. Then the drain is constant. Policy "fiends " play twice a day, risk- 
ing from two cents to a dollar upon the chance. They become so infatu- 
ated with the play that they will spend their last cent upon it in the hope 
of making a " hit." Many children go hungry and with insufficient cloth- 
ing as a result of policy playing. I have heard of young children engag- 
ing in this sort of gambling. Of course the effect of this is very bad. The 
policy evil is, to my mind, the very worst that exists in our large cities as 
affecting the poorer classes of people.' " 20 



20 Although the police lieutenants have reported to the Superinten- 
dent that few policy shops exist, the Ledger has information which leads 
it to state that such is not the fact. Many complaints against the evil 
have been received at this office. A reporter found it easy to locate and 
gain admittance to a number of houses where policy is written. A policy 
writer who is thoroughly informed as to the inside working of the system 
is authority for the statement that at no time in recent years has policy 
playing been so prevalent or the business carried on as openly as it is now. 

While the locations of the policy shops are well known and the writers 
familiar to many persons, the backers, who, after all, are the substantial 
part of the system, are hard to reach, for they exercise an unusual cun- 
ning in the direction of the business. There are several backers in 



266 The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII* 

Once in a while gambling-houses are raided: 

Twenty-three colored men, who were arrested in a raid of the police 
on an alleged gambling house, on Rodman street, above Twelfth, had 



Philadelphia of greater or less pretensions, but a young man who resides 
uptown and operates principally in the territory north of Girard avenue, 
is said to be the heaviest backer of thegameju this city. He ownssixty 
or seventy "books," and his income from their combined receipts is 
sufficient to support himself and several relatives in magnificent style. 

A Ledger reporter spent one day last week looking up the policy shops 
in one of the sections where this backer operates. He found, in addition 
to several places where policy is written, the rendezvous of the writers 
and the headquarters of the policy king himself. 

The writers who hold ' ' books ' ' from the backer in question meet 
twice every day, Sundays excepted, in a mean, dirty little house over- 
looking the Reading tracks, just below Montgomery avenue. They 
enter by the rear through a narrow alley leading off Delhi street, several 
yards below Montgomery avenue. At noon and at 6 o'clock in the eve- 
ning the writers hurry to this rendezvous. 

The unusual number of men gathering at this point at regular inter- 
vals, and the business-like manner in which they go through the alley 
and back gate is enough to attract the attention of the Twelfth District 
policeman on this beat and arouse his suspicions. Whether he notices it 
or not, these proceedings have been going on for months. 

Each writer, when he reaches this central point, turns in his " book "" 
and receipts. There are two drawings daily, hence the two meetings. 
Two relatives of the backer receive the "books" and the money. A 
copy of each writer's " book " and all the money are carried by one of 
these men to the house of an ex-special policeman, a few squares away, 
and there turned over to the backer, who has received a telegram from 
Cincinnati stating the numbers that have come out at that drawing. 

The "books " are carefully gone over, to see if there are any " hits." 
If there are they are computed, and the backer sends to each writer the 
amount necessary to pay his losses. The numbers that appear at each 
drawing are printed with rubber stamps in red ink, on slips of white 
paper and given to the writers to distribute among the players. 

These drawings are usually carried to the rendezvous by the ex-police- 
man. The backer pockets the half day's receipts, mounts his bicycle 
and rides away. 

To establish beyond a doubt the character of the building in which 
the writers meet, the reporter made his way into it on the afternoon in 
question. It is a well-known policy shop, conducted by a colored man, 
who has been writing policy for years. He is president of a colored 
political club, with headquarters near by. On the occasion of the visit 
the back gate was ajar. Pushing it open, the reporter walked in without 
challenge. — From the Public Ledger, December 3, 1897. 



Sect. 40.] Some Cases of Crime. 267 

a hearing yesterday, before Magistrate South, at the City Hall. One man, 
residing on Griscom street, testified that the house was supposed to be a 
"club," and that it was customary to pay a dollar before admission could 
be secured, and that he had been gambling at " crap " and a card game 
known as " five-up," and had lost $18. He said there was a president, 
marshal and sergeant at-arms. He pointed out Boiling, Jordan and 
Phillips as the principals. Special Policeman Duffy testified that the 
crowd was playing "crap" with dice on the floor when he headed the 
raid on Monday night. He said he had notified Boiling, as the head of 
the house, three months ago, when he had heard that gambling was going 
on there, to stop it. On cross-examination the witness said he did not 
know that it was a social club called the " Workingmen's Club." Patrol- 
man William Harvey testified that he went to the house on last Saturday 
night and got in readily, and .was not called on to pay a dollar initiation 
fee, as had been claimed was the rule. He said he played " sweat " and 
lost twenty-five cents, but did not win anything. He said Boiling was 
running the game. He said that when he entered the house somebody 
called out " Sam's got a new man," and that was all that was said. 

More and more frequently in the last few years, have 
crime, excess, and disappointment led to attempted 
suicide : 

Policeman Wynne, of the Fifth and Race streets station, last evening 
found an unknown colored woman lying unconscious in an alleyway at 
Delaware avenue and Race street. Beside the woman was an empty 
bottle labeled benzine. Wynne immediately summoned the patrol wagon 
and had the woman removed to the Pennsylvania Hospital, where her 
condition was said to be critical. The physicians said there was no doubt 
the woman had drunk the contents of the bottle, and narcotics weie at 
once administered to counteract the effect of the poison. At midnight 
the woman showed signs of returning consciousness and it was thought 
that she would recover. The police have no clue to her identity, as she 
could not tell her name, and the alleyway where she was found is sur- 
rounded by business houses, and no one could be found who knew her. 

It is but fair to add that many unsustained charges of 
crime are made against Negroes, and possibly more in 
proportion than against other classes. Some typical cases 
of this sort are of interest : 

W. M. Boley, colored, thirty years old, who said he resided in Mayes- 
ville, South Carolina, was a defendant before Magistrate Jermon, at the 
City Hall, yesterday, on the charge of assault with intent to steal. 
Detective Gallagher and Special Policeman Thomas testified that their 
attention was attracted to the prisoner by his actions in a crowd at the 



268 The Negro Criminal. [Chap. XIII. 

New York train gate at Broad street station on Saturday. He had with 
him several parcels which he laid on the floor near the gate, and they 
said they saw him make several attempts to pick women's pockets, and 
arrested him. The man however proved by documentary evidence that 
he was a clergyman, a graduate of Howard University, and financial 
agent of a Southern school. He was released. 

Under instructions from Judge Finletter, a jury rendered a verdict of 
not guilty in the case of George Queen, a young colored man, charged 
with the murder of Joseph A. Sweeney and John G. O'Brien. Dr. 
Frederick G. Coxson, pastor of the Pitman Methodist Episcopal 
Church, at Twenty-third and Lombard streets, testified that on the night 
in question he was about to retire, when he heard a disturbance on 
the street. Upon going out he saw three young men, two of whom were 
leading the other and persuading him to come with them. At the 
same time the prisoner, Queen, came along in the middle of the street, 
walking leisurely. Immediately upon seeing him the three men attacked 
him, and were shortly afterward joined by three others, and the entire 
crowd, among whom were Sweeney and O'Brien, continued beating and 
striking the colored man. Suddenly the crowd scattered and Queen was 
placed under arrest ; he had fatally stabbed two of his assailants. This 
testimony showed that the accused was not the aggressor, and without 
hearing the defence Judge Finletter ordered the jury to render a verdict 
of not guilty. The case, he said, was one of justifiable homicide, the 
defendant having a right to resist the attack by force. The judge further 
said he thought the case would have a tendency to repel the brutal attacks 
made on inoffensive persons in the community, and to make the streets 
safe for every man to walk on at any hour without fear. 

Leaving for a moment the question of the deeper social 
causes of crime among Negroes, let us consider two closely 
allied subjects, pauperism and the use of alchoholic liquors. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

PAUPERISM AND ALCOHOLISM. 

41. Pauperism. — Emancipation and pauperism must 
ever go hand in hand ; when a group of persons have 
been for generations prohibited from self-support, and self- 
initiative in any line, there is bound to be a large number 
of them who, when thrown upon their own resources, will 
be found incapable of competing in the race of life. Penn- 
sylvania from early times, when emancipation of slaves in 
considerable numbers first began, has seen and feared this 
problem of Negro poverty. The Act of 1726 declared: 
" Whereas free Negroes are an idle and slothful people and 
often prove burdensome to the neighborhood and afford ill 
examples to other Negroes, therefore be it enacted * * 

* * that if any master or mistress shall discharge or 
set free any Negro, he or she shall enter into recognizance 
with sufficient securities in the sum of ^30 to indemnify 
the county for any charge or incumbrance they may bring 
upon the same, in case such Negro through sickness or 
otherwise be rendered incapable of self-support." 

The Acts of 1780 and 1788 took pains to provide for Negro 
paupers in the county where they had legal residence, and 
many decisions of the courts bear upon this point. About 
1820 when the final results of the Act of 1780 were being 
felt, an act was passed " To prevent the increase of pauper- 
ism in the Commonwealth ; " it provided that if a servant 
was brought into the state over twenty-eight years of age 
(the age of emancipation) his master was to be liable for 
his support in case he became a pauper. 1 

Thus we can infer that much pauperism was prevalent 
among the freedmen during these years although there are 



1 See Appendix B for these various laws. 

(269) 



270 



Pauperism and Alcoholism. [Chap. XIV. 



no actual figures on the subject. In 1837, 235 of the 
1673 inmates of the Philadelphia County Almshouse were 
Negroes or 14 per cent of paupers from 7.4 per cent of the 
population. These paupers were classed as follows : 2 



Males. 

Under 21 years 18 

21 to 50 " 57 

50 to 75 " ....... 18 

Unknown 13 



106 



Females. 

Under 18 years 33 

18 to 40 " 59 

40 to 60 " .17 

60 " and over ... 10 
Unknown 10 



129 



Lunatics and defective . . i 16 males, 

Defective from exposure 11 

Consumption, rheumatism, etc. ... 9 

Pleurisy, typhus fever, etc 12 

Destitute . . , 13 

Paupers 32 

Unclassed 13 

Women lying-in, children and orphans, 



31 females, 
11 " 



35 
28 



24 



106 males, 129 females. 

Ten years later there were 196 Negro paupers in the 
Almshouse, and those receiving outdoor relief were reported 
as follows : 3 

In the City: 

Of 2562 Negro families, 320 received assistance. 
In Spring Garden: 

Of 202 Negro families, 3 received assistance. 
In Northern Liberties: 

Of 272 Negro families, 6 received assistance. 
In Southwark: 

Of 287 Negro families, 7 received assistance. 
In West Philadelphia: 

Of 73 Negro families, 2 received assistance. 
In Moyamensing: 

Of 866 Negro families, 104 received assistance. 
Total, of 4262 Negro families, 442 received assistance, or 10 per cent. 



•"Condition," etc., 1838. 
3 "Condition," etc., 1848. 



Sect. 41.] 



Pauperism. 



271 



This practically covers the available statistics of the past ; 
it shows a large amount of pauperism and yet perhaps not 
more than could reasonably be expected. 

To-day it is very difficult to get any definite idea of the 
extent of Negro poverty ; there is a vast amount of alms- 
giving in Philadelphia, but much of it is unsystematic 
and there is much duplication of work; and, at the 
same time, so meagre are the records kept that the 
real extent of pauperism and its causes are very hard to 
study. 4 

The first available figures are those relating to lodgers at 
the station-houses — i. e. persons without shelter who have 
applied for and been given lodging : 5 



1 89 1, total 


lodgers . 


. 13,600, 


of whom 365, or 2.7 


1892, " 


< < 


. 11,884, 


345, or 2.9 


1893, " 


«< 


. 20,521, 


" 622, or 3.0 


1894, " 


<t 


• 43.726, 


" 1247, or 2.9 


1895, " 


< < 


. 45.788, 


" 2247, or 4-9 


1896, " 


(< 


. 46,121, 


11 2359, or 5.0 



Somewhat similar statistics are furnished by the report 
of arrests by the vagrant detective for the last ten years : 



1887 . . 


total arrests 


.581. 


Negroes 






55 


9.5 per cent 


1888 . . , 


«< << 


574. 


<( 






48 


8.4 " 


1889 . . 


<< <« 


588. 


(< 






36 


6.1 " 


1890 . . 


(< (< 


523. 


«< 






48 


9.1 


1891 . . 


<{ << 


554. 


<( 






• 47 


8.5 " 


1892 . . 


<( <( 


505. 


<( 






65 


12.9 " 


1893. . 


(< << 


586. 


(< 






67 


11. " 


1894 . . 


(( (C 


688. 


<i 






. 66 


9.6 " 


1895 . . 


« ( (( 


557- 


<« 






.56 


10.0 " 


1896 . . 


(( «( 


629. 


(< 






59 


9-3 



The Negro vagrants arrested during the last six years 
were thus disposed of : 



* Cf. The " Civic Club Digest " for general information. 
5 From reports of police department. Many J other official reports 
might be added to these, but they are easily accessible. 



272 



Pauperism and Alcoholism, [Chap. XIV. 



Disposal. 



Given temporary shelter . . . 
Transported from city .... 
Arrested for vagrancy, beggary, 

etc 

Arrested for vicious conduct, 

etc 

Sent to House of Refuge . . . 
Sent to societies and institutions 



1891. 


1892. 


1893. 


1894. 


1895. 


21 


27 


29 


39 


26 


3 


2 


5 


4 


2 


5 


10 


4 


4 


2 


15 


10 


16 


11 


14 


3 


14 


7 


2 


5 





2 


6 


6 


7 



1896. 



32 

3 



5 
c* 

13 



These records give a vague idea of that class of persons 
just hovering between pauperism and crime — tramps, 
loafers, defective persons and unfortunates — a class difficult 
to deal with because made up of diverse elements. 

Turning to the true paupers, we have the record of the 
paupers admitted to the Blockley Almshouse during six 
years: 

Adui/ts— Sixteen Years of Age and Over. 



Year. 



1891 
1892 

1893 
1894 

1895 
1896 



Total 




Per Cent of 


Receptions 


Negroes. 


Negroes. 


6764 


569 


8.4 


6231 


537 


8.8 


6451 


567 


8.8 


6108 


569 


9-3 


6318 


606 


9-3 


6414 


593 


9.2 



Children under Sixteen Years of Age. 



Year. 



1891 
1892 

1893 
1894 

1895 
1896 



Total 




Per Cent of 


Receptions 


Negroes. 


Negroes. 


380 


38 


12.3 


262 


38 


145 


295 


38 


12.9 


304 


35 


II. I 


401 


42 


IO.5 


410 


5i 


12.4 



In 1 89 1, 4.2 per cent of the whites admitted were 
insane and 2.3 per cent of the Negroes; in 1895, 
8.3 per cent of the whites and 8.6 per 
Negroes : 



cent of the 



Sect. 41.] 



Pauperism, 
The Insane. 



273 



Year. 



1891 
1892 

1393 
1894 

1895 



Whites. 



Total 
Receptions 



6195 
5694 
5884 

5539 
5712 



Insane. 



264 
450 
427 
441 
463 



Negroes. 



Total 
Receptions 



569 

537 
567 
569 
606 



Insane. 



13 
45 
39 
38 
52 



We have already seen that in the Seventh Ward about 
9 per cent of the Negroes can be classed as the " very poor," 
needing public assistance in order to live. From this we 
may conclude that between three and four thousand Negro 
families in the city may be classed among the semi-pauper 
class. Thus it is plain that there is a large problem of 
poverty among the Negro problems ; 4 per cent of the 
population furnish according to the foregoing statistics 
at least 8 per cent of the poverty. Considering the 
economic difficulties of the Negro, we ought perhaps to 
expect rather more than less than this. Beside these per- 
manently pauperized families there is a considerable number 
of persons who from time to time must receive temporary 
aid, but can usually get on without it. In time of stress 
as during the year 1893 this class is very large. 

There is especial suffering and neglect among the children 
of this class of people : in the last ten years the Children's 
Aid Society has received the following children : 6 

From 1887 to 1897. Negroes. Total. 

Received from judges and magistrates (so-called delin- 
quents) 19 181 

Deserted babies 7 55 

Orphans 4 147 

Half-orphans, including those with mothers in delicate 
health and worthless fathers ; also both parents 

worthless 12 448 

From Blockley Almshouse 7 



6 From the Society records, by courtesy of the officers. 
18 



274 



Pauperism and Alcoholism. [Chap. XIV. 



From Blockley Almshouse (foundlings) 

From Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children 
From County Poor Boards 



12 


362 


3 


45 


26 


151 



no 



1389 



The total receptions during these ten years have been 
1389, of which the Negroes formed 8 percent. This but 
emphasizes the fact of poor family life among the lower 
classes which we have spoken of before. 

A little better light can be thrown on the problem of 
poverty by a study of concrete cases ; for this purpose 237 
families have been selected. They live in the Seventh 
Ward and are composed of those families of Negroes 
whom the Charity Organization Society, Seventh District, 
has aided for at least two winters. 7 First, we must notice 
that this number nearly corresponds with the previously 
estimated per cent of the " very poor." 8 Arranging these 
families according to size, we have : 



Number in 


Family. 


Families 


I 48 


2 






6l 


3 






54 


4 






3i 


5 





• 


19 


6 






10 


7 






1 


n 






1 



Unknown 9 



Total 234 



Persons. 

48 
122 
l62 
124 

95 

60 

7 
11 

? 



638 



The reported causes of poverty, which were in all cases 
verified by visitors so far as possible, were as follows : 



7 From the C. O. S. records, Seventh District, by courtesy of Miss 
Burke. 

8 This coincidence in figures was entirely unnoticed until both had 
been worked out by independent methods. 



Sect. 41.] Pauperism. 275 

Lack of work 115 families. 

Sickness, accident, or physical disability ... 39 

Death of bread-winner and old age 24 

Probable gambling, criminal shiftlessness, etc., 16 

Desertion of bread-winner 15 

Laziness and improvidence 10 

Intemperate use of alcoholic liquors 8 

Financial reverses 7 



234 families. 

From as careful a consideration of these cases as the 
necessarily meagre information of records and visitors 
permit, it seems fair to say that Negro poverty in the 
Seventh Ward was, in these cases, caused as follows : 

By sickness and misfortune 40 per cent. 

By lack of steady employment ... ... 30 " 

By laziness, improvidence and intemperate drink 20 " 

By crime 10 " 

Of course this is but a rough estimate ; many of these 
causes indirectly influence each other : crime causes sick- 
ness and misfortune ; lack of employment causes crime ; 
laziness causes lack of work, etc. 

Several typical families will illustrate the varying con- 
ditions encountered : 

No. 1. — South Eighteenth street. Four in the family ; 
husband intemperate drinker; wife decent, but out of 
work. 

No. 2. — South Tenth street. Five in the family; widow 
and children out of work, and had sold the bed to pay for 
expense of a sick child. 

No. 3. — Dean street. A woman paralyzed; partially sup- 
ported by a colored church. 

No. 4. — Carver street. Worthy woman deserted by her 
husband five years ago ; helped with coal, but is paying 
the Charity Organization Society back again. 

No. 5. — Hampton street. Three in family; living in 
three rooms with three other families. " No push, and 
improvident." 



276 Pauperism and Alcoholism. [Chap. XIV. 

No. 6. — Stockton street. The woman has just had an 
operation performed in the hospital, and cannot work yet. 

No. 7. — Addison street. Three in family; left their work 
in Virginia through the misrepresentations of an Arch 
street employment bureau ; out of work. 

No. 8. — Richard street. Laborer injured by falling of a 
derrick ; five in the family. His fellow workmen have 
contributed to his support, but the employers have given 
nothing. 

No. 9. — Lombard street. Five in family; wife white ; 
living in one room ; hard cases ; rum and lies ; pretended 
one child was dead in order to get aid. 

No. 10. — Carver street. Woman and demented son; she 
was found very drunk on the street ; plays policy. 

No. 11. — Lombard street. Worthy woman sick with a 
tumor ; given temporary aid. 

No. 12. — Ohio street. Woman and two children deserted 
by her husband ; helped to pay her rent. 

No. 13. — Rodman street. A widow and child ; out of 
work. " One very little room, clean and orderly." 

No. 14. — Fothergill street. Two in the family; the man 
sick, half-crazy and lazy; "going to convert Africa and 
didn't want to cook ; " given temporary help. 

No. 1 5. — Lombard street. An improvident young couple 
out of work ; living in one untidy room, with nothing to 
pay rent. 

No. 16. — Lombard street. A poor widow of a wealthy 
caterer ; cheated out of her property ; has since died. 

No. 17. — Ivy street. A family of four; husband was a 
stevedore, but is sick with asthma, and wife out of work ; 
decent, but improvident. 

No. 18. — Naudain street. Family of three; the man, 
who is decent, has broken his leg ; the wife plays policy. 

No. 19. — South Juniper street. Woman and two chil- 
dren ; deserted by her husband, and in the last stages of 
consumption. 



Sect. 42.] The Drink Habit. 277 

No. 20. — Radcliffe street. Family of three; borrowed of 
Charity Organization Society $1.00 to pay rent, and re- 
paid it in three weeks. 

No. 21. — Lombard street. " A genteel American white 
woman married to a colored man ; he is at present in the 
South looking for employment ; have one child ; " both 
are respectable. 

No. 22. — Fothergill street. Wife deserted him and two 
children, and ran off with a man ; he is out of work ; 
asked aid to send his children to friends. 

No. 23. — Carver street. Man of twenty-three came from 
Virginia for work ; was run over by cars at Forty-fifth 
street and Baltimore avenue, and lost both legs and right 
arm ; is dependent on colored friends and wants something 
to do. 

No. 24. — Helmuth street. Family of three; man out of 
work all winter, and wife with two and one-half days' work 
a week ; respectable. 

No. 25. — Richard street. Widow, niece and baby ; the 
niece betrayed and deserted. They ask for work. 

42. The Drink Habit. — The intemperate use of intoxi- 
cating liquors is not one of the Negro's special offences ; 
nevertheless there is considerable drinking and the use of 
beer is on the increase. The Philadelphia liquor saloons 
are conducted under an unusually well-administered system, 
and are not to so great an extent centres of brawling and 
loafing as in other cities ; no amusements, as pool and 
billiards, are allowed in rooms where liquor is sold. This 
is not an unmixed good for the result is that much of the 
drinking is thus driven into homes, clubs and "speak- 
easies." The increase of beer-drinking among all classes, 
black and white, is noticeable ; the beer wagons deliver 
large numbers of bottles at private residences, and much is 
carried from the saloons in buckets. 

An attempt was made in 1897 to count the frequenters 
of certain saloons in the Seventh Ward during the hours 



278 Pauperism and Alcoholism, [Chap. XIV. 

from 8 to 10 on a Saturday night. It was impracticable to 
make this count simultaneously or to cover the whole ward, 
but eight or ten were watched each night. 9 The results 
are a rough measurement of the drinking habits in this ward. 

There are in the ward 52 saloons of which 26 were 
watched in districts mostly inhabited by Negroes. In these 
two hours the following record was made: 

Persons entering the saloons : 

Negroes — male, 1373 ; female, 213. Whites — male, 
1445; female, 139. 

Of those entering, the following are known to have 
carried liquor away : 

Negroes — male, 238; female, 125. Whites — male, 275 ; 
female, 81. 

3170 persons entered half the saloons of the Seventh 
Ward in the hours from 8 to 10 of one Saturday night in 
December, 1897 ; of these, 1586 were Negroes, and 1584 
were whites; 2818 were males, and 352 were females. 10 
Of those entering these saloons at this time a part carried 
away liquor — mostly beer in tin buckets ; of those thus 
visibly carrying away liquor there were in all 719; of 
these 363 were Negroes, and 356 were whites; 513 were 
males, and 206 were females. 

The observers stationed near these saloons saw, in the 
two hours they were there, 79 drunken persons. 

The general character of the saloons and their frequenters 
can best be learned from a few typical reports. The num- 
bers given are the official license numbers : 

No. 516. Persons entering saloon : 
Men — white, 40; Negro, 68. Women — white, 12; 
Negro, 12. 



9 1 am indebted to Dr. S. M. Lindsay and the students of the Wharton 
School for the carrying out of this plan. 

10 No comparison of the number of N«groes and whites for the ward 
can be made, because many of the saloons omitted are frequented by 
whites principally. 



Sect. 42.] The Drink Habit, 279 

Persons carrying liquor away : 

Men — white, 8 ; Negro, 16. Women — white, 1 ; Negro, 3. 

Drunken persons seen, 12. 

General character of saloon and frequenters : — " A small 
corner saloon, kept by a white man. The saloon appears 
to be a respectable one and has three entrances : one on 
Thirteenth street and the two on a small court. The majority 
of the colored patrons are poor people and of the working 
class. The white patrons are, for the greater part, of the 
better class. Among the latter very few were intoxicated. " 

No. 488. Persons entering: 

Men — white, 24 ; Negro, 102. Women — white, 2 ; 
Negro, 3. 

Carrying liquor away, 12 ; drunken persons seen, 8. 

General character : — " The saloon was none too orderly; 
policemen remained near all the time ; the Negro men 
entering were as a rule well dressed — perhaps one-third 
were laborers ; the white men were well dressed but 
suspicious looking characters." 

No. 515. Persons entering : 

Men — white, 81 ; Negro, 59. Women — white, 4 ; 
Negro, 10. 

Persons carrying liquor away : 

Men — white, 15 (one a boy of 12 or 14 years of age) ; 
Negro, 11. Women — white, 4; Negro, 8. 

Drunken persons seen, 2 (to one nothing was sold). 

General character of saloon and frequenters : — " There 
were two Negro men and seven white men in saloon 
when the count was started. The place has three doors 
but all are easily observed. Trade is largely in distilled 
liquors, and a great deal is sold in bottles — a ' barrel 
shop.' " 

No. 527. Persons entering saloon : 



280 Pauperism and Alcoholism. [Chap. XIV. 

8 to 9 p. M. 9 to io p. M. Total. 

Men, White 49 54 104 

11 Negro 29 37 68 

Women, White 3 3 6 

11 Negro 5 2 7 



Persons carrying liquor away: 

Men, White 

" Negro 

Women, White 

" Negro 

Boys, " 



88 


97 


185 


6 


11 


17 


4 


' 9 


13 





1 


1 


4 





4 


1 





1 



15 21 36 



Drunken persons seen, none. 

General character of saloon and frequenters : — " Quiet, 
orderly crowd — quick trade — no loafing. Three boys were 
among those entering." 

No. 484. Persons entering saloon : 

Men — white, 70 ; Negro, 32. Women — white, 10 ; 
Negro, 1. 

Persons carrying liquor away : 

Men — white, 10 ; Negro, 12. Women — white, 4 ; 
Negro, o. 

Drunken persons seen, n, six of whom were white and 
five black. "I cannot say that the saloon was responsible 
for all of them, but they were all in or about it." 

This saloon is in the worst slum section of the ward and 
is of bad character. Frequenters were a mixed lot, " fast, 
tough, criminal and besotted." 

No. 487. Persons entering : 

Men — white, 79; Negro, 129. Women — white, 13; 
Negro, 34. 

Persons carrying liquor away : 

Men — white, 15 ; Negro, 25. Women — white, 5 ; 
Negro, 8. 



Sect. 42.] The Drink Habit. 281 

" No drunken men seen. Frequented by a sharp class 
of criminals and loafers. Near the notorious ' Middle 
Alley.' » 

No. 525. 

Total Negroes entering, 14; total whites entering, 13. 

" No loafers about the front of the saloon. Streets well 
lighted and neighborhood quiet, according to the policeman. 
There was a barber shop next door and a saloon on the 
corner ten doors below. Very few drunken people were 
seen. Trade was most brisk between eight and nine 
o'clock. In two hours one more Negro than white entered. 
Two more Negroes, men, than whites carried away liquor. 
One white man, a German, returned three times for beer in 
a kettle. Two Negro women carried beer away in kettles ; 
one white woman (Irish) made two trips. All women 
entered by side door. The saloon is under a residence, 
three stories, corner of Waverly and Eleventh streets. 
Waverly street has a Negro population which fairly 
swarms — good position for Negro trade. Proprietor and 
assistant were both Irish. The interior of the saloon was 
finished in white pine stained to imitate cherry. Ex- 
tremely plain. Barkeeper said, ( A warm night, but we 
are doing very well.' One beggar came in, a colored 
( Auntie ;' she wanted bread, ?not gin. Negroes were well 
dressed, as a rule, many smoking. The majority of 
frequenters by their bustling air and directness with which 
they found the place, showed long acquaintance with the 
neighborhood ; especially this corner." 

No. 500. Persons entering saloon : 
'%*: Men — white, 40 ; Negro, 73. Women — white 4 ; 
Negro, 6. 

Persons carrying liquor away : 

Men — white, 6; Negro, 23. Women — white, 5; 
Negro, 4. 

Drunken persons seen, 1. 



282 Pauperism and Alcoholism. [Chap. XIV. 

General character of saloon and frequenters: — "Four 
story building, plain and neat ; three entrances ; iron 
awning ; electric and Welsbach lights. Negroes generally 
tidy and appear to be pretty well-to-do. Whites not so 
tidy as Negroes and generally mechanics. Almost all 
smoke cigars. Liquor carried away openly in pitchers and 
kettles. Three of the white women, carrying away liquor, 
looked like Irish servant girls. Some of the Negroes 
carried bundles of laundry and groceries with them." 

Few general conclusions cau be drawn from this data. 
The saloon is evidently not so much a moral as an economic 
problem among Negroes ; if the 1586 Negroes who went 
into the saloons within two hours Saturday night spent five 
cents apiece, which is a low estimate, they spent $79.30. 
If, as is probable, at least $100 was spent that Saturday 
evening throughout the ward, then in a year we would not 
be wrong in concluding their Saturday night's expenditure 
was at least $5000, and their total expenditure could 
scarcely be less than $10,000, and it may reach $20,000 — a 
large sum for a poor people to spend in liquor. 

43. The Causes of Crime and Poverty. — A study of 
statistics seems to show that the crime and pauperism of 
the Negroes exceeds that of the whites ; that in the main, 
nevertheless, it follows in its rise and fall the fluctuations 
shown in the records of the whites, i. e. , if crime increases 
among the whites it increases among Negroes, and vice 
versa, with this peculiarity, that among the Negroes the 
change is always exaggerated — the increase greater, the 
decrease more marked in nearly all cases. This is what we 
would naturally expect: we have here the record of a low 
social class, and as the condition of a lower class is by its 
very definition worse than that of a higher, so the situation 
of the Negroes is worse as respects crime and poverty than 
that of the mass of whites. Moreover, any change in social 
conditions is bound to affect the poor and unfortunate more 
than the rich and prosperous. We have in all probability 



Sect. 43.] The Causes of Crime and Poverty, 283 

an example of this in the increase of crime since 1890 ; 
we have had a period of financial stress and industrial 
depression ; the ones who have felt this most are the poor, 
the unskilled laborers, the inefficient and unfortunate, and 
those with small social and economic advantages : the 
Negroes are in this class, and the result has been an increase 
in Negro crime and pauperism ; there has also been an 
increase in the crime of the whites, though less rapid by- 
reason of their richer and more fortunate upper classes. 

So far, then, we have no phenomena which are new or 
exceptional, or which- present more than the ordinary social 
problems of crime and poverty — although these, to be sure, 
are difficult enough. Beyond these, however, there are 
problems which can rightly be called Negro problems: 
they arise from the peculiar history and condition of the 
American Negro. The first peculiarity is, of course, the 
slavery and emancipation of the Negroes. That their 
emancipation has raised them economically and morally is 
proven by the increase of wealth and co-operation, and the 
decrease of poverty and crime between the period before 
the war and the period since ; nevertheless, this was mani- 
festly no simple process : the first effect of emancipation 
was that of any sudden social revolution : a strain upon 
the strength and resources of the Negro, moral, economic 
and physical, which drove many to the wall. For this reason 
the rise of the Negro in this city is a series of rushes and 
backslidings rather than a continuous growth. The second 
great peculiarity of the situation of the Negroes is the fact 
of immigration ; the great numbers of raw recruits who 
have from time to time precipitated themselves upon the 
Negroes of the city and shared their small industrial oppor- 
tunities, have made reputations which, whether good or bad, 
all their race must share ; and finally whether they failed or 
succeeded in the strong competition, they themselves must 
soon prepare to face a new immigration. 

Here then we have two great causes for the present 



284 Pauperism and Alcoholism. [Chap. XIV. 

condition of the Negro : Slavery and emancipation with 
their attendant phenomena of ignorance, lack of discipline, 
and moral weakness ; immigration with its increased com- 
petition and moral influence. To this must be added a 
third as great — possibly greater in influence than the other 
two, namely the environment in which a Negro finds him- 
self — the world of custom and thought in which he must 
live and work, the physical surrounding of house and 
home and ward, the moral encouragements and discourage- 
ments which he encounters. We dimly seek to define this 
social environment partially when we talk of color prejudice 
— but this is but a vague characterization ; what we want 
to study is not a vague thought or feeling but its concrete 
manifestations. We know pretty well what the surround- 
ings are of a young white lad, or a foreign immigrant who 
comes to this great city to join in its organic life. We 
know what influences and limitations surround him, to 
what he may attain, what his companionships are, what his 
encouragements are, what his drawbacks. 

This we must know in regard to the Negro if we would 
study his social condition. His strange social environment 
must have immense effect on his thought and life, his work 
and crime, his wealth and pauperism. That this environ- 
ment differs and differs broadly from the environment of 
his fellows, we all know, but we do not know just how it 
differs. The real foundation of the difference is the wide- 
spread feeling all over the land, in Philadelphia as well as 
in Boston and New Orleans, that the Negro is something 
less than an American and ought not to be much more 
than what he is. Argue as we may for or against this 
idea, we must as students recognize its presence and its 
vast effects. 

At the Eastern Penitentiary where they seek so far as 
possible to attribute to definite causes the criminal record 
of each prisoner, the vast influence of environment is 
shown. This estimate is naturally liable to error, but the 



Sect. 43.] The Causes of Crime and Poverty. 285 

peculiar system of this institution and the long service and 
wide experience of the warden and his subordinates gives 
it a peculiar and unusual value. Of the 541 Negro prison- 
ers previously studied 191 were catalogued as criminals by 
reason of "natural and inherent depravity." The others 
were divided as follows : 
Crimes due to 

(a) Defects of the law : 

Laxity in administration 33 

Unsuitable laws for minor offences 48 

Inefficient police . •. . 22 

License given to the young 16 

Inefficient laws in regard to saloons . .... 11 

Poor institutions and lack of institutions 12 

142 

(b) Immediate environment: 

Association 53 

Amusements 16 

Home and family influences 25 

94 

(c) Lack of training, lack of opportunity, lack of 

desire to work 56 

(d) General environment 6 

(e) Disease 16 

(/) Moral weakness and unknown 36 

114 

This rough judgment of men who have come into daily 
contact with five hundred Negro criminals, but emphasizes 
the fact alluded to ; the immense influence of his peculiar 
environment on the black Philadelphian ; the influence of 
homes badly situated and badly managed, with parents 
untrained for their responsibilities ; the influence of social 
surroundings which by poor laws and inefficient adminis- 
tration leave the bad to be made worse ; the influence of 
economic exclusion which admits Negroes only to those 
parts of the economic world where it is hardest to retain 
ambition and self-respect ; and finally that indefinable, but 
real and mighty moral influence that causes men to have 



286 Pauperism and Alcoholism. [Chap. XIV. 

a real sense of manhood or leads them to lose aspiration 
and self-respect. 

For the last ten or fifteen years young Negroes have 
been pouring into this city at the rate of a thousand a 
year ; the question is then what homes they find or make, 
what neighbors they have, how they amuse themselves, 
and what work they engage in ? Again, into what sort of 
homes are the hundreds of Negro babies of each year 
born? Under what social influences do they come, what 
is the tendency of their training, and what places in life 
can they fill ? To answer all these questions is to go far 
toward finding the real causes of crime and pauperism 
among this race ; the next two chapters, therefore, take up 
the question of environment. 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE NEGRO. 

44. Houses and Rent. — The inquiry of 1848 returned 
quite full statistics of rents paid by the Negroes. 1 In 
the whole city at that date 4019 Negro families paid 
$199,665.46 in rent, or an average of $49.68 per family 
each year. Ten years earlier the average was $44 per 
family. Nothing better indicates the growth of the Negro 
population in numbers and power when we compare with 
this the figures for 1896 for one ward ; in that year the 
Negroes of the Seventh Ward paid $25,699.50 each month 
in rent, or $308,034 a year, an average of $126.19 per 
annum for each family. This ward may have a somewhat 
higher proportion of renters than most other wards. At 
the lowest estimate, however, the Negroes of Philadelphia 
pay at least $1,250,000 in rent each year. 2 

The table of rents for 1848 is as follows (see page 288): 
We see that in 1848 the average Negro family rented by 
the month or quarter, and paid between four and five dol- 
lars per month rent. The highest average rent for any 
section was less than fifteen dollars a month. For such 
rents the poorest accommodations were afforded, and we 
know from descriptions that the mass of Negroes had small 
and unhealthful homes, usually on the back streets and 
alleys. The rents paid to-day in the Seventh Ward, 
according to the number of rooms, are tabulated on 
page 289. 

1 "Condition," etc., 1848, p. 16. 

2 Not taking into account sub-rent repaid by sub-tenants ; subtracting 
this and the sum would be, perhaps, $1,000,000 — see infra, p. 291. 
That paid by single lodgers ought not, of course, to be subtracted as it 
has not been added in. 

(287) 



288 



The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 



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Sect. 44.] 



Houses and Rent, 



289 



Negro Homes, According to Rents and Rooms. 3 
Seventh JVard, Philadelphia. 











Number of Rooms. 




Amount of Rent 
per Month. 







01 
V 

u 

J3 


3 
O 


4J 
> 


•H 


a 

V 

> 

V 




a 


a 
u 


51 


> a 


Grand 
5 Total 
Rent. 

a 
M 







4 


I 


ft 

I 


S 


co 


CO 


W 


fc 


H 


a 






Free 












$1.00 . 








. 




. 






















1.50 . 








2 




. 




















fe.oo 


2.00 . 








5 




. 




















1 12.00 


2.50 . 








6 




. 




















15.00 


3.00 . 








36 




. 


I 












• 






108.00 


3-50 • 








17 




. 


1 


















59-50 


4.00 . 








161 


4 


., 




















660.00 


4.50 . 








237 


11 


3 


I 


















11^4.00 


5-5o • 








14 


2 






















88.00 


6.00 . 








175 


18 


15 




















1 1254.00 


6.50 . 








6 


4 


. 




















65.00 


7.00 . 








39 


11 


47 




















679.00 


7- 50 . 








2 


1 


5 


I 


















67.50 


8.00 . 








88 


28 


76 


9 


4 
















1 1648.00 


8.50 . 










2 


10 


. 


















102.00 


9.00 . 








3 


2 


68 


9 




1 














747- 00 


9-5o • 












1 


• 


















9-5o 


1000 . 








17 


S 


43 


32 


7 


3 


I 












1110.00 


10.50 . 












2 




















21. OO 


11.00 . 










1 


19 


10 


3 
















363.00 


11.50 . 












2 


. 


















23.OO 


12.00 . 










8 


48 


46 


25 


11 


I 












I39.OO 


13-00 . . 












11 


18 


10 


3 


I 












569.OO 


14.00 . . 












8 


17 


13 


9 


3 












700.00 


1500 . . 












10 


15 


18 


3i 


2 


I 


I 








II70.OO 


16.00 . . 














5 


21 


28 


5 


I 










960.OO 


17.00 . . 


















3 


8 


1 


I 










22I.OO 


18.00 . . 










1 






1 


8 


52 


20 


6 


2 








I620.00 


19.00 . . 


















. 


6 


2 


2 


I 








209.OO 


20 00 . . 
















2 


4 


50 


35 


16 


7 








230O.OO 


21.00 . . 


















. 


3 


5 


4 


2 








294.OO 


22.00 . . 


















. 


11 


12 


5 


2 








660.OO 


23.00 . . 


















2 


8 


8 


18 


7 


I 






IOI2.CO 


24.00 . . 


















. 


. 


3 


1 


1 


. 






I20.00 


25.00 
















1 


2 


2T 


27 


38 


21 


12 


9 




3275.00 


26. 00-28. c 


DO 
















2 


I 


4 


9 


15 


3 


2 




972.00 


30.00 . . 


















1 


2 


6 


8 


15 


7 


10 




I470 OO 


35.00 . . 




















I 


2 


3 


4 


6 


9 




875.OO 


40.00 . . 




















I 


1 


1 


1 


4 


6 




560.OO 


45.00 . . 




















. 


. 


. 


1 


1 


1 




13500 


50.00 . . 




















. 


. 


. 


. 


1 


1 




IOO.OO 


65.00 . . 




















. 




. 






1 




65.OO 


75-oo . . 




















. 


. 




. 


1 


. 




75.0O 


Owned and un- 




























known .... 


21 




3 


2 


4 


12 


12 


29 


16 


12 


14 


5 


E ... 


Total rent per month .... $25,65 


9-50 




Aver, rent per year per fami 


ly . $126.19 


Total rent per year $308,03 


4.00 




Aver, rent per year per indivi 


dual, $31 .83 


Aver, rent per mo 


nth 


pert 


amil 


y. 


$1 


0.50- 


r 



















3 The returns as to rents paid are among the most reliable of the statis- 
tics gathered. The amount of rent is always well-known, and there are 
19 



28 


7 


17 


o " 


ii 


3 


17 


o " 


4 


i " 



290 The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 

Condensing this table somewhat we find that the Negroes 
pay rent as follows : 

Under $5 per month 490 families, or 21.9 per cent. 

$5 and under $10 643 " 

$10 " " $15 380 

$15 " " $20 252 " 

$20 " " $30 375 " 

$30 and over 95 " 

The lodging system so prevalent in the Seventh Ward 
makes some rents appear higher than the real facts warrant. 
This ward is in the centre of the city, near the places of 
employment for the mass of the people and near the centre 
of their social life ; consequently people crowd here in 
great numbers. Young couples just married engage lodg- 
ing in one or two rooms ; families join together and hire 
one house ; and numbers of families take in single lodgers ; 
thus the population of the ward is made up of 

Families owning or renting their homes and living 

alone 738, or 31 per cent. 

Families owning or renting their homes, who take 

lodgers or sub-renters 937, " 38 " 

Families sub-renting under other families 766, "31 " 

Total individuals . . . . ' 7751 100 " 

Total families 2441 

Individuals lodging with families 1924 

Total individuals 9675 

The practice of sub-renting is found of course in all 
degrees : from the business of boarding-house keeper to the 



few motives for deception. Moreover in Philadelphia there is a tendency 
to build rows and streets of houses with the same general design. These 
rent for the same sum, and thus particular instances of false report are 
easily detected. One feature of the returns must be noted, i. e. , the large 
number of cases where high rents are paid for one- and two-room tene- 
ments. In nearly all of these cases this rent is paid for large front bed- 
rooms in good localities, and often includes furniture. Sometimes a 
limited use of the family kitchen is also included. In such cases it is 
misleading to call these one-room tenements. No other arrangement, 
however, seemed practical in these tables. 



Sect. 44.] 



Houses and Rent. 



291 



case of a family which rents out its spare bed-chamber. In 
the first case the rent is practically all repaid, and must in 
some cases be regarded as income ; in the other cases a 
small fraction of the rent is repaid and the real rent and 
the size of the home reduced. L,et us endeavor to deter- 
mine what proportion of the rents of the Seventh Ward 
are repaid in sub-rents, omitting some boarding and lodging- 
houses where the sub-rent is really the income of the house- 
wife. In most cases the room-rent of lodgers covers some 
return for the care of the room. The next table gives 
detailed statistics : 



Proportion of Rent Repaid in Sub-rent. 
Negroes of Seventh Ward, Philadelphia. 









Monthly Rent Paid: 


Dollars 






w 








06 
u 

V 
13 


d 


CN 


10 


00 





10 









Approxi- 


Proportion Repaid 


u 


a 

3 


u 


u 




|4 


(LI 




u 








mate 
Total 


in Sub-rent. 


13 


-d 


13 


13 

s 


13 

3 


-a 


13 

a 


13 

3 


13 
3 


V 

> 


3 


a 


Sub-rent: 




3 


rt 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 





£ 


fe 


DollarSi 






10 




T) 


'd 


Tl 


-d 


-d 


13 


13 










'd 


u 


13 


3 


c 


53 


a 


3 


3 


3 


a 


rt 






3 


V 


3 


aJ 


rt 


C3 


a 


rt 


rt 


rt 


4-1 






10 


> 




00 




M 


0* 




00 

M 




(N 


10 




CO 


3 
P 


O 




One-eighth rep'd 


T 


1 








4 


7 


6 




19 


61.08 


One-sixth " 


















1 


1 




2 


9.16 


One-fourth " 


I 




1 


I 


8 


23 


16 


3i 


9 


8 


1 


99 


460.51 


One-third " 


2 


3 


18 


16 


45 


26 


8 


17 


23 


11 




170 


871.33 


One-half V 


2 


17 


37 


20 


17 


26 


23 


55 


3i 


14 


1 


243 


1748.75 


Two-thirds " 


. 


2 


11 


6 


24 


II 


10 


7 


21 


6 


1 


109 


1246.33 


Three-fourths " 




2 


4 


2 


6 


II 


7 


23 


19 


6 




80 


1201.08 


Four-fifths 
















1 




1 




2 


48.OO 


Whole rent " 




2 


11 


3 


12 


8 


13 


19 


14 


10 


i 


94 


-. 


More than the 




























whole rent re- 


























.3167.OO 




1 


. 


4 


3 


5 


2 


2 


14 


13 


13 


. 


57 


J 




















. 




62 


62 




Total families . 
























937 


. . . 


Approximate 




























total of sub- 




























rent repaid 






















































8813.24 



It appears from this table that nearly $9000 is paid by 
the sub-renting families and lodgers to the renting families. 
A part of this ought to be subtracted from the total rent 



292 The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 

paid if we would get at the net rent ; just how much, 
however, should be called wages for care of room, or 
other conveniences furnished sub-renters, it is difficult to 
say. Possibly the net rent of the ward is $20,000, and of 
the city about $1,000,000/ 

The accommodations furnished for the rent paid must 
now be considered. The number of rooms occupied is the 
simplest measurement, but is not very satisfactory in this 
case owing to the lodging system which makes it difficult 
to say how many rooms a family really occupies. A very 
large number of families of two and three rent a single 
bedroom and these must be regarded as one-room tenants, 
and yet this renting of a room often includes a limited 
use of a common kitchen ; on the other hand this sub- 
renting family cannot in justice be counted as belonging 
to the renting family. The figures are: 

829 families live in 1 room, including families lodging, or 35.2 per cent. 

2 rooms .or 4.4 " 

" or 15.7 

i« I or 12.7 " 

" or more or 32.0 " 

The number of families occupying one room is here 
exaggerated as before shown by the lodging system ; on 
the other hand the number occupying six rooms and more 
is also somewhat exaggerated by the fact that not all 
sub-rented rooms have been subtracted, although this has 
been done as far as possible. 

Of the 2441 families only 334 had access to bathrooms 
and water-closets, or 13.7 per cent. Even these 334 fami- 
lies have poor accommodations in most instances. Many 
share the use of one bath-room with one or more other 
families. The bath-tubs usually are not supplied with hot 
water and very often have no water-connection at all. This 
condition is largely owing to the fact that the Seventh 



104 " 


!• ii 2 


371 


" " 3 


170 " 


«i ,« 4 


127 " 


1, 11 5 


754 


11 11 6 



4 Here, again, the proportion paid by single lodgers must not be sub- 
tracted as it has not been added in before. 



Sect. 44.] 



Houses and Rent, 



293 



Ward belongs to the older part of Philadelphia, built 
when vaults in the yards were used exclusively and bath- 
rooms could not be given space in the small houses. This 
was not so unhealthful before the houses were thick 
and when there were large back yards. To-day, however, 
the back yards have been filled by tenement houses and the 
bad sanitary results are shown in the death rate of the ward. 

Even the remaining yards are disappearing. Of the 
1 75 1 families making returns, 932 had a private yard 
12x12 feet, or larger ; 312 had a private yard smaller than 
12x12 feet ; 507 had either no yard at all or a yard and 
outhouse in common with the other denizens of the tene- 
ment or alley. 

Of the latter only sixteen families had water-closets. So 
that over 20 per cent and possibly 30 per cent of the Negro 
families of this ward lack some of the very elementary 
accommodations necessary to health and decency. And 
this too in spite of the fact that they are paying compara- 
tively high rents. Here too there comes another consider- 
ation, and that is the lack of public urinals and water-closets 
in this ward and, in fact, throughout Philadelphia. The 
result is that the closets of tenements are used by the 
public. A couple of diagrams will illustrate this ; the 
houses of older Philadelphia were built like this : 








A HOME 

B OUTHOUSE 

C YARD 

D PASSAGE TO STREET 



When, however, certain districts like the Seventh Ward 
became crowded and given over to tenants, the thirst for 



294 



The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 



money-getting led landlords in large numbers of cases to 
build up their back yards like this : 




A FRONT TENEMENT FACING ST. 

C BACK TENEMENT FACING ALLEY 

D ALLEY 

B COMMON OUTHOUSE 
FOR 3 TENANTS 



This is the origin of numbers of the blind alleys and 
dark holes which make some parts of the Fifth, Seventh 
and Eighth Wards notorious. The closets in such cases are 
sometimes divided into compartments for different tenants, 
but in many cases not even this is done ; and in all cases 
the alley closet becomes a public resort for pedestrians and 
loafers. The back tenements thus formed rent usually for 
from $7 to $9 a month, and sometimes for more. They 
consist of three rooms one above the other, small, poorly 
lighted and poorly ventilated. The inhabitants of the 
alley are at the mercy of its worst tenants ; here policy 
shops abound, prostitutes ply their trade, and criminals 
hide. Most of these houses have to get their water at a 
hydrant in the alley, and must store their fuel in the 
house. These tenement abominations of Philadelphia are 
perhaps better than the vast tenement houses of New York, 
but they are bad enough, and cry for reform in housing. 

The fairly comfortable working class live in houses of 
3-6 rooms, with water in the house, but seldom with a 
bath. A three room house on a small street rents from 
$10 up ; on Lombard street a 5-8 room house can be 
rented for from $18 to $30 according to location. The 
great mass of comfortably situated working people live in 
houses of 6-10 rooms, and sub-rent a part or take lodgers. 
A 5-7 room house on South Eighteenth street can be had 
for $20 ; on Florida street for $18 ; such houses have 



Sect. 44.] Houses and Rent, 295* 

usually a parlor, dining room and kitchen on the first floor 
and two to four bedrooms, of which one or two are apt to 
be rented to a waiter or coachman for $4 a month, or to a 
married couple at $6-10 a month. The more elaborate 
houses are on Lombard street and its cross streets. 

The rents paid by the Negroes are without doubt far 
above their means and often from one-fourth to three-fourths 
of the total income of a family goes in rent. This leads to 
much non-payment of rent both ; intentional and uninten- 
tional, to frequent shifting of homes, and above all to 
stinting the families in many necessities of life in order to 
live in respectable dwellings. Many a Negro family eats 
less than it ought for the sake of living in a decent 
house. 

Some of this waste of money in rent is sheer ignorance 
and carelessness. The Negroes have an inherited distrust 
of banks and companies, and have long neglected to take 
part in Building and Loan Associations. Others are simply 
careless in the spending of their money and lack the 
shrewdness and business sense of differently trained peoples. 
Ignorance and carelessness however will not explain all 
or even the greater part of the problem of rent among 
Negroes. There are three causes of even greater impor- 
tance : these are the limited localities where Negroes may 
rent, the peculiar connection of dwelling and occupation 
among Negroes and the social organization of the Negro. 
The undeniable fact that most Philadelphia white people 
prefer not to live near Negroes 5 limits the Negro very 
seriously in his choice of a home and especially in the 
choice of a cheap home. Moreover, real estate agents 
knowing the limited supply usually raise the rent a dollar 
or two for Negro tenants, if they do not refuse them 
altogether. Again, the occupations which the Negro 
follows, and which at present he is compelled to follow, are 



5 The sentiment has greatly lessened in intensity during the last two 
decades, but it is still strong ; cf. section 47. 



296 The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 

of a sort that makes it necessary for him to live near the 
best portions of the city ; the mass of Negroes are in the 
economic world purveyors to the rich — working in private 
houses, in hotels, large stores, etc. 6 In order to keep this 
work they must live near by; the laundress cannot bring 
her Spruce street family's clothes from the Thirtieth Ward, 
nor can the waiter at the Continental Hotel lodge in 
Germantown. With the mass of white workmen this same 
necessity of living near work, does not hinder them from 
getting cheap dwellings ; the factory is surrounded by 
cheap cottages, the foundry by long rows of houses, and 
even the white clerk and shop girl can, on account of their 
hours of labor, afford to live further out in the suburbs 
than the black porter who opens the store. Thus it is 
clear that the nature of the Negro's work compels him to 
crowd into the centre of the city much more than is the 
case with the mass of white working people. At the same 
time this necessity is apt in some cases to be overestimated, 
and a few hours of sleep or convenience serve to persuade 
a good many families to endure poverty in the Seventh 
Ward when they might be comfortable in the Twenty- 
fourth Ward. Nevertheless much of the Negro problem in 
this city finds adequate explanation when we reflect that 
here is a people receiving a little lower wages than usual 
for less desirable work, and compelled, in order to do that 
work, to live in a little less pleasant quarters than most 
people, and pay for them somewhat higher rents. 

The final reason of the concentration of Negroes in 
certain localities is a social one and one peculiarly strong : 
the life of the Negroes of the city has for years centred in 
the Seventh Ward ; here are the old churches, St. Thomas, 
Bethel, Central, Shiloh and Wesley ; here are the halls of 
the secret societies ; here are the homesteads of old families. 
To a race socially ostracised it means far more to move to 

6 At the same time, from long custom and from competition, their 
wages for this work are not high. 



Sect. 44.] Houses and Rent. 297 

remote parts of a city, than to those who will in any part 
of the city easily form congenial acquaintances and new ties. 
The Negro who ventures away from the mass of his people 
and their organized life, finds himself alone, shunned and 
taunted, stared at and made uncomfortable ; he can make 
few new friends, for his neighbors however well-disposed 
would shrink to add a Negro to their list of acquaint- 
ances. Thus he remains far from friends and the con- 
centred social life of the church, and feels in all its 
bitterness what it means to be a social outcast. Con- 
sequently emigration from the ward has gone in groups and 
centred itself about some church, and individual initiative 
is thus checked. At the same time color prejudice makes 
it difficult for groups to find suitable places to move to — 
one Negro family would be tolerated where six would be 
objected to ; thus we have here a very decisive hindrance 
to emigration to the suburbs. 

It is not surprising that this situation leads to consider- 
able crowding in the homes, i. e. y to the endeavor to get as 
many people into the space hired as possible. It is this 
crowding that gives the casual observer many false notions 
as to the size of Negro families, since he often forgets that 
every other house has its sub-renters and lodgers. It is 
however difficult to measure this crowding on account of 
this very lodging system which makes it very often un- 
certain as to just the number of rooms a given group of 
people occupy. In the following table therefore it is likely 
that the number of rooms given is somewhat greater than is 
really the case and that consequently there is more crowd- 
ing than is indicated. This error however could not be 
wholly eliminated under the circumstances ; a study of the 
table (page 298) shows that in the Seventh Ward there are 
9302 rooms occupied by 2401 families, an average of 3.8 
rooms to a family, and 1.04 individuals to a room. A 
division by rooms will better show where the crowding 
comes in. 



298 



The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV- 



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Sect. 45.] Sections and Wards. 299 

Families occupying five rooms and less: 1648, total rooms 
per family, 2.17 ; total individuals per room, 1.53. 

Families occupying three rooms and less: 1350, total rooms 
per family, 1.63 ; total individuals per room, 1.85. 

The worst cases of crowding are as follows : 

Two cases of 10 persons in 1 room. 
One case of 9 " I " 

Five cases of 7 " I tl 

Six cases of 6 " 1 " 

Twenty-five cases of 5 persons in 1 room. 
One case of 9 persons in 2 rooms. 
One case of 16 • " 3 " 

One case of 13 " 3 <c 

One case of 11 " 3 " 

As said before, this is probably something under the real 
truth, although perhaps not greatly so. The figures show 
considerable overcrowding, but not nearly as much as is 
often the case in other cities. This is largely due to the 
character of Philadelphia houses, which are small and low, 
and will not admit '^many inmates. Five persons in one 
room of an ordinary tenement wouldJ)e almost suffocating. 
The large number of one- room tenements with two persons 
should be noted. These 572 families are for the most part 
young or childless couples, sub-renting a bed-room and 
working in the city. 7 

45. Sections and Wards. — The spread of Negro popu- 
lation in the city during the nineteenth century is worth 
studying. In 1793, 8 one-fourth of the black inhabitants 
— or 538 persons — lived north of Market street and south 
of Vine, and were either in the homes of white families as 



7 One room under such circumstances may not by any means denote 
excessive poverty or indecency ; the room is usually rented in a good 
locality and is well furnished. Cf. note 3. 

8 During the plague of that year a census of the inhabitants remain- 
ing in the city was taken. Five-sixths of the Negroes remained, so the 
census gives a good idea of the distribution of the Negro population. 
The results are published in the report printed afterward by order of 
Councils. 



300 



The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 



servants, or in the alleys, as Shively's, Pewter Platter, 
Croomb's, Sugar, Cresson's, etc. Between Market and South 
lived one-half of the blacks, crowded in a region that cen- 
tred at Sixth and Lombard : in Strawberry alley and lane, 
Elbow lane, Grey's alley, Shippen's alley, etc., besides in 
the families of the whites on Walnut, Spruce, Pine, etc. 
The remaining fourth of the population was in Southwark, 
south of South street, and in the Northern Liberties, north 
of Vine. Details are given in the next table : 

Number and Distribution of the Negro Inhabitants of Phila- 
delphia in 1793 — October to December. 

(Taken from the Census of the Plague Committee.) 
Between Market and Vine Streets. 



Streets, etc. 

Market 

Water 

Front 

Second 

Third 

Fourth 

Fifth 

Sixth 

Seventh .... 

Eighth 

Ninth 

Arch 

Race 

Vine (south side) 

New 

Church alley . . 



Negroes. 

63 
31 
40 
29 

37 
42 
24 

32 

8 

13 

3 
56 
38 

9 

3 

2 



Streets, etc. 

Quarry 

Cherry alley . . . 
South alley . . . . 
North alley .... 
Sugar alley .... 
Appletree alley . . 
Cresson's alley . . 
Shively's alley . . 
Pewter Platter alley 
Croomb's alley . . 
Baker's alley . . . 
Brooks' court . . . 
Priest's alley . . . 
Says alley .... 



Total. 



Between Market and South Streets. 



Streets, etc. 



Water . 
Front. , 
Second , 
Third. , 
Fourth , 
Fifth . , 
Sixth . , 
Seventh 
Eighth , 
Ninth . 



Negroes. 

12 
129 
Il6 

66 
81 
63 
37 

o 
16 

o 



Streets, etc. 



Penn , 

Chestnut .... 

Walnut 

Spruce , 

Pine , 

South (north side) 
Strawberry lane . 
Strawberry alley 
Elbow lane . . . , 
Beetles' alley . . , 



Negroes. 

4 
25 

I 

4 
14 

7 

10 
11 

3 

5 

7 

1 

6 

6 



538 



Negroes. 

II 

50 

83 
66 

31 
32 

4 
2 

10 
5 



Sect. 45.] 



Sections and Wards. 



301 



Streets, etc. 
Grey's alley 
Norris alley 

Dock 

Union .... 
Cypress alley . 

Pear 

Lombard . . . 
Emslie's alley . 
Laurel court . 
Shippen's alley 



Streets, etc. 

Water 

Front 

Second 

Third 

Fourth 

Fifth 

Vine (north side) . . . 

Callowhill 

Noble, or Bloody lane . 
Artillery lane (or Duke) 



Negroes. Streets, etc. 

13 Willing's alley . 

4 Blackberry alley 

5 Carpenter .... 
32 Gaskill 

1 Georges to South 

5 Little Water . . 
57 Stamper's alley . 

6 Taylor's alley . . 
1 York court . . . 

26 



Total 



Northern Liberties. 



Negroes. 
I 
59 

1 

3 

1 

18 
10 

4 
26 



Streets, etc. 
Green . . . . 
Coates . . . . 
Brown . . . . 
Cable lane . . 
St. John . . . 
St. Tammany . 
Willow .... 
Wood's alley . 
Crown . . . . 



Total 



District of Southwark. 



Streets, etc. 

Swanson 

South Penn 

Front 

Second ........ 

Third 

Fifth . . * 

Cedar court (south side) 

Shippen 

Almond 

Catharine 



Negroes. 
22 

3 
15 
22 

34 

5 

19 
50 

9 
33 



Streets, etc. 



Christian 

Queen 

Meade's alley . . . 

German 

Plumb 

Moll Tuller's alley 

George 

Ball alley 

Crabtree alley . . . 



Total 



Summary. 



Negroes. 
I 
2 

7 
7 
5 
5 
8 
1 
7 



1007 

Negroes. 
6 
32 

15 
1 
6 
2 
1 
1 
3 



233 

Negroes. 
6 

5 
10 

3 

5 
4 
8 

3 
2 



258 



Between Market and Vine streets 538 

Between Market and South streets 1007 

North of Vine street 233 

South of South street 258 



Total 



Total inhabitants of county by census of 1790 



2036 
2489 



302 



The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 



The changes from 1793 to 1838, nearly a half century, 
may thus be shown: 



Place. 


1793. 


1838. 


City 


1545-75.0% 

L 233—11.5% 

} 258-13.5% 
2036 


8462—60% 
878) 
359 ^1744—15% 

507 J 

13,591+5000 servants. 




Total 





Thus we see in 1838 that the centre of Negro population 
had gone southward toward Moyamensing. The Cedar, 
Locust, Newmarket, Pine and South Wards, as they were 
then called, had the bulk of the population, and they cor- 
responded approximately to the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh and 
Eighth Wards of to-day. 

Ten years later than this, in 1848, 9 we have a more 
detailed account of the distribution of the Negroes in the 
various sections of the city. They were mostly crowded 
into narrow courts and alleys. The colored population 
north of Vine and east of Sixth streets consisted of 272 
families with 1285 persons. One hundred and one families 
of these (415 persons) lived on Apple street and its courts, 
and in Paschall's alley (now Lynd street). Apple street 
itself, including Hick's court, had 2>7 families, with 138 
persons, living in 16 houses ; Shotwell's row, on the same 
street, had 16 families with 65 persons in 7 houses; the 
rooms were about 8 feet square. Paschall's alley contained 
48 families with 212 persons, in 28 houses ; one house had 
7 families, 33 persons, living in 13 rooms, 8 feet square. 
The rent of the whole house was $266 per year ; " yet all 
of them \i. e., these families] have comfortable beds and 
bedding." 

About a third of the total Negro population of Moya- 

9 The figures for 1838 and 1848 are from the inquiries of those dates ; 
cf. census of 1840. 



Sect. 45.] Sections and Wards. 303 

mensing (the district " south of Cedar street and west of 
Passyunk road ") was crowded into the space between Fifth 
and Eighth streets, and South and Fitzwater ; for instance : 

Families. Families. 

Shippen street 55 Black Horse alley 5 

Bedford street 63 Hutton's court 9 

Small street . . . . 73 Yeager's court 9 

Baker street 21 Dickerson's court 5 

Seventh and South streets . . 14 Britton's court 5 

Spafford street 16 Cryder's court ....... 4 

Freytag's alley 9 Sherman's court 13 

Prosperous alley 11 



Total 302 

" It is in this district and in the adjoining portion of the 
city, especially Mary street and its vicinity, that the great 
destitution and wretchedness exist." The personal property 
of 176 of the above 302 families is returned as $603.50, or 
$3.43 per family ; 15 families (42 persons) on Small street 
(Alaska street) above Sixth, have their whole property val- 
ued at $7. Most of these Negroes were rag-pickers, and 29 
out of 42 families were not natives of the State. Mary 
street and its courts had 80 families, with 281 persons living 
in 35 houses. Some were industrious and temperate, but 
there was " much surrounding misery." In Gile's alley 
(from Cedar to Lombard street) were 42 families, 147 per- 
sons, in 20 houses. Eighty-three of these persons were not 
natives of the State, and 13 of the families received public 
charity. A description of this district in 1847 is inte- 
resting : 

" The vicinity of the place we sought was pointed out 
by a large number of colored people congregated on the 
neighboring pavements. We first inspected the rooms, 
yards and cellars of the four or five houses next above 
Baker street on Seventh. The cellars were wretchedly 
dark, damp and dirty, and were generally rented for twelve 
and a half cents per night. These are occupied by one or 
more families at the present time, but in the winter season 
when the frost drives those who in summer sleep abroad in 



304 The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 

fields, in boardyards and in sheds, to seek more effectual 
shelter, they often contain from twelve to twenty lodgers 
per night. Commencing at the back of each house are 
small wooden buildings roughly put together, about six 
feet square, without windows or fireplaces, a hole about a 
foot square being left in front along side of the door to let 
in fresh air and light, and to let out foul air and smoke. 
These desolate pens, the roofs of which are generally leaky, 
and their floors so low that more or less water comes in on 
them from the yard in rainy weather, would not give com- 
fortable winter accommodations to a cow. Although as 
dismal as dirt, damp and insufficient ventilation can make 
them, they are nearly all inhabited. In one of the first we 
entered, we found the dead body of a large Negro man 
who had died suddenly there. This pen was about eight 
feet deep by six wide. There was no bedding in it, but a 
box or two around the sides furnished places where two 
colored persons, one said to be the wife of the deceased, 
were lying either drunk or fast asleep. The body of the dead 
man was on the wet floor beneath an old torn coverlet." 10 

In 1853 a similar description of the crime, filth and 
poverty of this district shows us that the present slums 
do not compare with those in misfortune and deprav- 
ity. n Much of this poverty and degradation could in 
1847 be laid at the door of the new immigrants, and 
although some of the immigrants were in good circum- 
stances, yet in general most of the poverty was found 
where most of the immigrants were. The immigrants 
formed the following percentages of the total population in 

1847: 

City 47.7 per cent. 

Moyamensing 46.3 " 

Southwark 35.9 " 

West Philadelphia 34.3 " 

Spring Garden 31.4 " 

Northern Liberties 14.2 " 

10 "Condition of Negroes," 1848, pp. 34-41. 

11 "Mysteries and Miseries of Philadelphia." (Pamphlet.) 



Sect. 45.] Sections and Wards. 305 

The historic centre of Negro settlement in the city can 
thus be seen to be at Sixth and Lombard. From this point 
it moved north, as is indicated for instance by the estab- 
lishment of Zoar Church in 1794. Immigration of foreign- 
ers and the rise of industries, however, early began to turn 
it back and it found outlet in the alleys of Southwark and 
Moyamensing. For awhile about 1840 it was bottled up 
here, but finally it began to move west. A few early left 
the mass and settled in West Philadelphia ; the rest began 
a slow steady movement along Lombard street. The 
influx of 1876 and thereafter sent the wave across Broad 
street to a new centre at Seventeenth and Lombard. There 
it divided into two streams ; one went north and joined 
remnants of the old settlers in the Northern Liberties and 
Spring Garden. The other went south to the Twenty- 
sixth, Thirtieth and Thirty-sixth Wards. Meantime the 
new immigrants poured in at Seventh and Lombard,. while 
Sixth and Lombard down to the Delaware was deserted to 
the Jews, and Moyamensing partially to the Italians. 
The Irish were pushed on beyond Eighteenth to the 
Schuylkill, or emigrated to the mills of Kensington and 
elsewhere. The course may be thus graphically repre- 
sented (see page 306) : 

This migration explains much that is paradoxical about 
Negro slums, especially their present remnant at Seventh 
and Lombard. Many people wonder that the mission and 
reformatory agencies at work there for so many years have 
so little to show by way of results. One answer is that 
this work has new material continually to work upon, 
while the best classes move to the west and leave the dregs 
behind. The parents and grandparents of some of the 
best families of Philadelphia Negroes were born in the 
neighborhood of Sixth and Lombard at a time when all 
Negroes, good, bad and indifferent, were confined to that 
and a few other localities. With the greater freedom of 
domicile which has since come, these slum districts have 
20 



3° 6 



The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 



sent a stream of emigrants westward. There has, too, been 
a general movement from the alleys to the streets and 
from the back to the front streets. Moreover it is untrue 

Migration of the Negro Population, 1790-1890. 




that the slums of Seventh and Lombard have not greatly 
changed in character ; compared with 1840, 1850 or even 
1870 these slums are much improved in every way. More 



Sect. 45.] Sections and Wards. 307 

and more every year the unfortunate and poor are being 
sifted out from trie vicious and criminal and sent to better 
quarters. 

And yet with all the obvious improvement, there are still 
slums and dangerous slums left. Of the Fifth Ward and ad- 
joining parts of the Seventh, a city health inspector says : 

" Few of the houses are underdrained, and if the closets 
have sewer connections the people are too careless to keep 
them in order. The streets and alleys are strewn with 
garbage, excepting immediately after the visit of the street 
cleaner. Penetrate into' one of these houses and beyond 
into the back yard, if there is one (frequently there is not), 
and there will be found a pile of ashes, garbage and filth, 
the accumulation of the winter, perhaps of the whole year. 
In such heaps of refuse what disease germ may be breed- 
ing ?" 12 

To take a typical case : 

" Gillis' Alley, famed in the Police Court, is a narrow 
alley, extending from Lombard street through to South 
street, above Fifth street, cobbled and without sewer con- 
nections. Houses and stables are mixed promiscuously. 
Buildings are of frame and of brick. No. — looks both 
outside and in like a Southern Negro's cabin. In this 
miserable place four colored families have their homes. 
The aggregate rent demanded is $22 a month, though the 
owner seldom receives the full rent. For three small dark 
rooms in the rear of another house in this alley, the tenants 
pay, and have paid for thirteen years, $11 a month. The 
entrance is by a court not over two feet wide. Except at 
midday the sun does not shine in the small open space in 
the rear that answers for a yard. It is safe to say that not 
one house in this alley could pass an inspection without 
being condemned as prejudicial to health. But if they are 
so condemned and cleaned, with such inhabitants how long 
will they remain clean ? " 13 

12 Dr. Frances Van Gasken in a tract published by the Civic Club. 

13 Ibid. 



3 o8 



The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 



Some of the present characteristics of the chief alleys 
where Negroes live are given in the following table : 





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Sect. 46.] Social Classes and Amusements. 309 

The general characteristics and distribution of the Negro 
population at present in the different wards can only be 
indicated in general terms. The wards with the best Negro 
population are parts of the Seventh, Twenty-sixth, Thir- 
tieth and Thirty-sixth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Twenty- 
fourth, Twenty-seventh and Twenty-ninth. The worst 
Negro population is found in parts of the Seventh, and in 
the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth. In the other wards either 
the classes are mixed or there are very few colored people. 
The tendency of the best migration to-day is toward the 
Twenty-sixth, Thirtieth and Thirty-sixth Wards, and West 
Philadelphia. 

46. Social Classes and Amusements. — Notwithstanding 
the large influence of the physical environment of home 
and ward, nevertheless there is a far mightier influence to 
mold and make the citizen, and that is the social atmos- 
phere which surrounds him : first his daily companionship, 
the thoughts and whims of his class ; then his recreations 
and amusements ; finally the surrounding world of Ameri- 
can civilization, which the Negro meets especially in his 
economic life. L,et us take up here the subject of social 
classes and amusements among Negroes, reserving for the 
next chapter a study of the contact of the Whites and 
Blacks. 

There is always a strong tendency on the part of the 
community to consider the Negroes as composing one 
practically homogeneous mass. This view has of course 
a certain justification: the people of Negro descent in 
this land have had a common history, suffer to-day com- 
mon disabilities, and contribute to one general set of 
social problems. And yet if the foregoing statistics have 
emphasized any one fact it is that wide variations in 
antecedents, wealth, intelligence and general efficiency 
have already been differentiated within this group. 
These differences are not, to be sure, so great or so patent 
as those among the whites of to-day, and yet they un- 



310 The Environment of the Negro, [Chap. XV. 

doubtedly equal the difference among the masses of the 
people in certain sections of the land fifty or one hundred 
years ago; and there is no surer way of misunderstanding the 
Negro or being misunderstood by him than by ignoring 
manifest differences of condition and power in the 40,000 
black people of Philadelphia. 

And yet well-meaning people continually do this. They 
regale the thugs and whoremongers and gamblers of 
Seventh and Lombard streets with congratulations on what 
the Negroes have done in a quarter century, and pity for 
their disabilities ; and they scold the caterers of Addison 
street for the pickpockets and paupers of the race. A 
judge of the city courts, who /or years has daily met a 
throng of lazy and debased Negro criminals, comes from 
the bench to talk to the Negroes about their criminals : he 
warns them first of all to leave the slums and either forgets 
or does not know that the fathers of the audience he is 
speaking to, left the slums when he was a boy and that the 
people before him are as distinctly differentiated from the 
criminals he has met, as honest laborers anywhere differ 
from thieves. 

Nothing more exasperates the better class of Negroes 
than this tendency to ignore utterly their existence. The 
law-abiding, hard-working inhabitants of the Thirtieth 
Ward are aroused to righteous indignation when they see 
that the word Negro carries most Philadelphians' minds to 
the alleys of the Fifth Ward or the police courts. Since 
so much misunderstanding or rather forgetfulness and care- 
lessness on this point is common, let us endeavor to try and 
fix with some definiteness the different social classes which 
are clearly enough defined among Negroes to deserve 
attention. When the statistics of the families of the 
Seventh Ward were gathered, each family was put in one 
of four grades as follows : 

Grade 1. Families of undoubted respectability earning 
sufficient income to live well ; not engaged in menial 



Sect. 46.] Social Classes and Amusements. 311 

service of any kind ; the wife engaged in no occupation 
save that of house-wife, except in a few cases where she 
had special employment at home. The children not com- 
pelled to be bread-winners, but found in school ; the family 
living in a well-kept home. 

Grade 2. The respectable working-class ; in comfortable 
circumstances, with a good home, and having steady 
remunerative work. The younger children in school. 

Grade j. The poor; persons not earning enough to 
keep them at all times above want; honest, although not 
always energetic or thrifty, and with no touch of gross 
immorality or crime. Including the very poor, and the 
poor. 

Grade 4. The lowest class of criminals, prostitutes and 
loafers ; the " submerged tenth." 

Thus we have in these four grades the criminals, the 
poor, the laborers, and the well-to-do. u The last class 
represents the ordinary middle-class folk of most modern 
countries, and contains the germs of other social classes 
which the Negro has not yet clearly differentiated. Let 
us begin first with the fourth class. 

The criminals and gamblers are to be found at such 
centres as Seventh and Lombard streets, Seventeenth and 
Lombard, Twelfth and Kater, Eighteenth and Naudain, 
etc. Many people have failed to notice the significant 
change which has come over these slums in recent years ; 
the squalor and misery and dumb suffering of 1840 has 
passed, and in its place have come more baffling and sinister 
phenomena: shrewd laziness, shameless lewdness, cunning 



14 It will be noted that this classification differs materially from the 
economic division in Chapter XI. In that case grade four and a part of 
three appear as the " poor ; " grade two and the rest of grade three, as 
the "fair to comfortable ; " and a few of grade two and grade one as the 
well-to-do. The basis of division there was almost entirely according to 
income ; this division brings in moral considerations and questions of 
expenditure, and consequently reflects more largely the personal judg- 
ment of the investigator. 



312 The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 

crime. The loafers who line the curbs in these places are 
no fools, but sharp, wily men who often outwit both the 
Police Department and the Department of Charities. Their 
nucleus consists of a class of professional criminals, who 
do not work, figure in the rogues' galleries of a half-dozen 
cities, and migrate here and there. About these are a set 
of gamblers and sharpers who seldom are caught in serious 
crime, but who nevertheless live from its proceeds and aid 
and abet it. The headquarters of all these are usually the 
political clubs and pool-rooms; they stand ready to entrap 
the unwary and tempt the weak. Their organization, tacit 
or recognized, is very effective, and no one can long watch 
their actions without seeing that they keep in close touch 
with the authorities in some way. Affairs will be gliding 
on lazily some summer afternoon at the corner of Seventh 
and Lombard streets ; a few loafers on the corners, a pros- 
titute here and there, and the Jew and Italian plying their 
trades. Suddenly there is an oath, a sharp altercation, a 
blow ; then a hurried rush of feet, the silent door of a 
neighboring club closes, and when the policeman arrives 
only the victim lies bleeding on the sidewalk ; or at mid- 
night the drowsy quiet will be suddenly broken by the 
cries and quarreling of a half-drunken gambling table ; 
then comes the sharp, quick crack of pistol shots — a scur- 
rying in the darkness, and only the wounded man lies 
awaiting the patrol-wagon. If the matter turns out seri- 
ously, the police know where in Minster street and Middle 
alley to look for the aggressor ; often they find him, but 
sometimes not. 15 

The size of the more desoerate class of criminals and 
their shrewd abettors is of course comparatively small, but 
it is large enough to characterize the slum districts. 
Around this central body lies a large crowd of satellites 



16 The investigator resided at the College Settlement, Seventh and Lom- 
bard streets, some months, and thus had an opportunity to observe this 
slum carefully. 



Sect. 46.] Social Classes and Amusements. 313 

and feeders: young idlers attracted by excitement, shift- 
less and lazy ne'er-do-wells, who have sunk from better 
things, and a rough crowd of pleasure seekers and liber- 
tines. These are the fellows who figure in the police 
courts for larceny and fighting, and drift thus into graver 
crime or shrewder dissoluteness. They are usually far 
more ignorant than their leaders, and rapidly die out from 
disease and excess. Proper measures for rescue and reform 
might save many of this class. Usually they are not 
natives of the city, but immigrants who have wandered 
from the small towns • of the South to Richmond and 
Washington and thence to Philadelphia. Their environ- 
ment in this city makes it easier for them to live by crime 
or the results of crime than by work, and being without 
ambition — or perhaps., having lost ambition and grown 
bitter with the world — they drift with the stream. 

One large element of these slums, a class we have barely 
mentioned, are the prostitutes. It is difficult to get at any 
satisfactory data concerning such a class, but an attempt 
has been made. There were in 1896 fifty-three Negro 
women in the Seventh Ward known on pretty satisfactory 
evidence to be supported wholly or largely by the proceeds 
of prostitution ; and it is probable that this is not half the 
real number ; 16 . these fifty-three were of the following ages : 

14 to 19 2 

20 to 24 .11 

25 to 29 9 

30 to 39 .17 

40 to 49 3 

50 and over 2 

Unknown 9 

Total 53 

Seven of these women had small children with them and 
had probably been betrayed, and had then turned to this 

16 These figures were taken during the inquiry by the visitor to the 
houses. 



314 The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 

sort of life. There were fourteen recognized bawdy 
houses in the ward ; ten of them were private dwellings 
where prostitutes lived and were not especially fitted up > 
although male visitors frequented them. Four of the 
houses were regularly fitted up, with elaborate furniture, 
and in one or two cases had young and beautiful girls on 
exhibition. All of these latter were seven or eight room 
houses for which $26 to $30 a month was paid. They are 
pretty well-known resorts, but are not disturbed. In the 
slums the lowest class of street walkers abound and ply 
their trade among Negroes, Italians and Americans. One 
can see men following them into alleys in broad daylight. 
They usually have male associates whom they support 
and who join them in " badger" thieving. Most of them 
are grown women though a few easels of girls under sixteen 
have been seen on the street. 

This fairly characterizes the lowest class of Negroes. 
According to the inquiry in the Seventh Ward at least 
138 families were estimated as belonging to this class out 
of 2395 reported, or 5.8 per cent. This would include 
between five and six hundred individuals. Perhaps this 
number reaches 1000 if the facts were known, but the 
evidence at hand furnishes only the number stated. In the 
whole city the number may reach 3000, although there is 
little data for an estimate. 17 

The next class are the poor and unfortunate and the 
casual laborers ; most of these are of the class of Negroes 
who in the contact with the life of a great city have 
failed to find an assured place. They include immi- 
grants who cannot get steady work ; good natured, but 
unreliable and shiftless persons who cannot keep work or 
spend their earnings thoughtfully ; those who have suffered 
accident and misfortune ; the maimed and defective classes. 



17 This includes not simply the actual criminal class, but its aiders and 
abettors, and the class intimately associated with it. It would, for 
instance, include much more than Charles Booth's class A in London. 



Sect. 46.] Social Classes and Amusements. 315 

and the sick ; many widows and orphans and deserted 
wives ; all these form a large class and are here considered. 
It is of course very difficult to separate the lowest of this 
class from the one below, and probably many are included 
here who, if the truth were known, ought to be classed 
lower. In most cases, however, they have been given the 
benefit of the doubt. The lowest ones of this class usually 
live in the slums and back streets, and next door, or in 
the same house often, with criminals and lewd women. 
Ignorant and easily influenced, they readily go with the 
tide and now rise to- industry and decency, now fall to 
crime. Others of this class get on fairly well in good 
times, but never get far ahead. They are the ones who 
earliest feel the weight of hard times and their latest 
blight. Some correspond to the " worthy poor " of most 
charitable organizations, and some fall a little below that 
class. The children of this class are the feeders of the 
criminal classes. Often in the same family one can find 
respectable and striving parents weighed down by idle, 
impudent sons and wayward daughters. This is partly 
because of poverty, more because of the poor home life. In 
the Seventh Ward 30^ per cent of the families or 728 
may be put into this class, including the very poor, the 
poor and those who manage just to make ends meet in 
good times. In the whole city perhaps ten to twelve 
thousand Negroes fall in this third social grade. 

Above these come the representative Negroes ; the mass 
of the servant class, the porters and waiters, and the best 
of the laborers. They are hard-working people, proverb- 
ially good-natured ; lacking a little in foresight and fore- 
handedness, and in " push." They are honest and faithful, 
of fair and improving morals, and beginning to accumulate 
property. The great drawback to this class is lack of 
congenial occupation especially among the young men and 
women, and the consequent wide-spread dissatisfaction and 
complaint. As a class these persons are ambitious ; the 



316 The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 

majority can read and write, many have a common school 
training, and all are anxious to rise in the world. Their 
wages are low compared with corresponding classes of 
white workmen, their rents are high, and the field of 
advancement opened to them is very limited. The best 
expression of the life of this group is the Negro church, 
where their social life centres, and where they discuss 
their situation and prospects. 

A note of disappointment and discouragement is often 
heard at these discussions and their work suffers from a 
growing lack of interest in it. Most of them are probably 
best fitted for the work they are doing, but a large 
percentage deserve better ways to display their talent, and 
better remuneration. The whole class deserves credit for 
its bold advance in the midst of discouragements, and for 
the distinct moral improvement in their family life during 
the last quarter century. These persons form 56 per cent 
or 1,252 of the families of the Seventh Ward, and include 
perhaps 25,000 of the Negroes of the city. They live in 
5-10 room houses, and usually have lodgers. The houses 
are always well furnished with neat parlors and some 
musical instrument. Sunday dinners and small parties, 
together with church activities, make up their social inter- 
course. Their chief trouble is in finding suitable careers 
for their growing children. 

Finally we come to the 277 families, 11.5 per cent of 
those of the Seventh Ward, and including perhaps 3,000 
Negroes in the city, who form the aristocracy of the Negro 
population in education, wealth and general social effi- 
ciency. In many respects it is right and proper to judge a 
people by its best classes rather than by its worst classes or 
middle ranks. The highest class of any group represents 
its possibilities rather than its exceptions, as is so often 
assumed in regard to the Negro. The colored people are 
seldom judged by their best classes, and often the very 
existence of classes among them is ignored. This is 



Sect. 46.] Social Classes and Amusements. 317 

partly due in the North to the anomalous position of those 
who compose this class ; they are not the leaders or the 
ideal-makers of their own group in thought, work, or 
morals. They teach the masses to a very small extent, 
mingle with them but little, do not largely hire their 
labor. Instead then of social classes held -together by 
strong ties of mutual interest we have in the case of the 
Negroes, classes who have much to keep them apart, and 
only community of blood and color prejudice to bind them 
together. If the Negroes were by themselves either a 
strong aristocratic system or a dictatorship would for the 
present prevail. With, however, democracy thus prema- 
turely thrust upon them, the first impulse of the best, the 
wisest and richest is to segregate themselves from the mass. 
This action, however, causes more of dislike and jealousy 
on the part of the masses than usual, because those masses 
look to the whites for ideals and largely for leadership. It 
is natural therefore that even to-day the mass of Negroes 
should look upon the worshipers at St. Thomas' and 
Central as feeling themselves above them, and should dis- 
like them for it. On the other hand it is just as natural 
for the well-educated and well-to-do Negroes to feel them- 
selves far above the criminals and prostitutes of Seventh 
and Lombard streets, and even above the servant girls and 
porters of the middle class of workers. So far they are 
justified ; but they make their mistake in failing to recog- 
nize that however laudable an ambition to rise may be, the 
first duty of an upper class is to serve the lowest classes. 
The aristocracies of all peoples have been slow in learning 
this and perhaps the Negro is no slower than the rest, but 
his peculiar situation demands that in his case this lesson be 
learned sooner. Naturally the uncertain economic status 
even of this picked class makes it difficult for them to 
spare much time and energy in social reform ; compared 
with their fellows they are rich, but compared with white 



318 The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV. 

Americans they are poor, and they can hardly fulfill their 
duty as the leaders of the Negroes until they are captains 
of industry over their people as well as richer and wiser. 
To-day the professional class among them is, compared 
with other callings, rather over-represented, and all have a 
struggle to maintain the position they have won. 

This class is itself an answer to the question of the 
ability of the Negro to assimilate American culture. It is 
a class small in numbers and not sharply differentiated 
from other classes, although sufficiently so to be easily 
recognized. Its members are not to be met with in the 
ordinary assemblages of the Negroes, nor in their usual 
promenading places. They are largely Philadelphia born, 
and being descended from the house-servant class, contain 
many mulattoes. In their assemblies there are evidences 
of good breeding and taste, so that a foreigner would 
hardly think of ex-slaves. They are not to be sure people 
of wide culture and their mental horizon is as limited as 
that of the first families in a country town. Here and 
there may be noted, too, some faint trace of careless moral 
training. On the whole they strike one as sensible, 
good folks. Their conversation turns on the gossip of 
similar circles among the Negroes of Washington, Bos- 
ton and New York ; on questions of the day, and, less 
willingly, on the situation of the Negro. Strangers 
secure entrance to this circle with difficulty and only by 
introduction. For an ordinary white person it would 
be almost impossible to secure introduction even by a 
friend. Once in a while some well-known citizen meets a 
company of this class, but it is hard for the average white 
American to lay aside his patronizing way toward a Negro, 
and to talk of aught to him but the Negro question ; the 
lack, therefore, of common ground even for conversation 
makes such meetings rather stiff and not often repeated. 
Fifty-two of these families keep servants regularly ; they 



Sect. 46.] Social Classes and Amusements. 



3 IQ - 



live in well-appointed homes, which give evidence of taste 
and even luxury. 18 

Something must be said, before leaving this subject, of 
the amusements of the Negroes. Among the fourth grade 
and the third, gambling, excursions, balls and cake-walks 
are the chief amusements. The gambling instinct is wide- 
spread, as in all low classes, and, together with sexual 
looseness, is their greatest vice ; it is carried on in clubs, 
in private houses, in pool-rooms and on the street. Public 
gambling can be found at a dozen different places every 
night at full tilt in the Seventh Ward, and almost any 
stranger can gain easy access. Games of pure chance are 
preferred to those of skill, and in the larger clubs a sort of 
three-card monte is the favorite game, played with a dealer 
who gambles against all comers. In private houses in the 
slums, cards, beer and prostitutes can always be found. In 
the public pool-rooms there is some quiet gambling and 
playing for prizes. For the new comer to the city the 
only open places of amusement are these pool-rooms and 
gambling clubs ; here are crowds of young fellows, and 



18 A comparison of the size of families in the highest and lowest class 
may be of interest: 



Number in Family. 



One 

Two 

Three 

Four 

Five 

Six 

Seven 

Eight ..... 

Nine 

Ten 

Eleven .... 
Twelve or more 



Total 277 



First Grade. 



22 — 8% 

66 -- 24% 

54 

48 



25 
18 
20 

7 
5 
7 
o 

5 



19% 

-33% 



•12% 



Afofc 



Fourth Grade. 



17 
58 
27 
21 

6 
6 
2 
o 
1 
o 
o 
o 



- 12% 
~ 42% 

- 20% 

—24% 



2% 



— 0% 



I38 



Average size of family, first grade, 4.07%; fourth grade, 2.08%. 
This certainly looks like the survival of the fittest, and is hardly an 
argument for the extinction of the civilized Negro. 



320 The Environment of the Negro. [Chap. XV, 

once started in this company no one can say where they 
may not end. 

The most innocent amusements of this class are the balls 
and cake-walks, although they are accompanied by much 
drinking, and are attended by white and black prostitutes. 
The cake-walk is a rhythmic promenade or slow dance, and 
when well done is pretty and quite innocent. Excursions 
are frequent in summer, and are accompanied often by much 
fighting and drinking. 

The mass of the laboring Negroes get their amusement in 
connection with the churches. There are suppers, fairs> 
concerts, socials and the like. Dancing is forbidden by 
most of the churches, and many of the stricter sort would 
not think of going to balls or theatres. The younger set, 
however, dance, although the parents seldom accompany 
them, and the hours kept are late, making it often a dissi- 
pation. Secret societies and social clubs add to these 
amusements by balls and suppers, and there are numbers 
of parties at private houses. This class also patronizes fre- 
quent excursions given by churches and Sunday-schools 
and secret societies ; they are usually well conducted, but 
cost a great deal more than is necessary. The money 
wasted in excursions above what would be necessary for a 
day's outing and plenty of recreation, would foot up many 
thousand dollars in a season. 

In the upper class alone has the home begun to be 
the centre of recreation and amusement. There are always 
to be found parties and small receptions, and gatherings at 
the invitations of musical or social clubs. One large ball 
each year is usually given, which is strictly private. Guests 
from out of town are given much social attention. 

Among nearly all classes of Negroes there is a large un- 
satisfied demand for amusement. L,arge numbers of servant 
girls and young men have flocked to the city, have no homes, 
and want places to frequent. The churches supply this need 
partially, but the institution which will supply this want 



Sect. 46.] Social Classes and Amusements. 321 

better and add instruction and diversion, will save many 
girls from ruin and boys from crime. There is to-day little 
done in places of public amusement to protect colored 
girls from designing men. Many of the idlers and rascals 
of the slums play on the affections of silly servant girls, 
and either ruin them or lead them into crime, or more 
often live on a part of their wages. There are many cases 
of this latter system to be met in the Seventh Ward. 

It is difficult to measure amusements in any enlightening 
way. A count of the amusements reported by the Tribune, 
the chief colored paper,, which reports for a select part of 
the laboring class, and the upper class, resulted as follows 
for nine weeks: 19 

Parties at homes in honor of visitors , . . 16 

" " homes 11 

" with dancing 10 

Balls in halls 10 

Concerts in churches . 7 

Church suppers, etc 7 

Weddings 7 

Birthday parties 7 

Lectures and literary entertainments at churches ... 6 

Card parties 4 

Fairs at churches 3 

Lawn parties and picnics 3 

These, of course, are the larger parties in the whole city, 
and do not include the numerous small church socials and 
gatherings. The proportions here are largely accidental, 
but the list is instructive. 



19 These weeks were not consecutive but taken at random. 



21 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE CONTACT OF THE RACES. 

47. Color Prejudice. — Incidentally throughout this 
study the prejudice against the Negro has been again and 
again mentioned. It is time now to reduce this somewhat 
indefinite term to something tangible. Everybody speaks 
of the matter, everybody knows that it exists, but in just 
what form it shows itself or how influential it is few agree. 
In the Negro's mind, color prejudice in Philadelphia is 
that widespread feeling of dislike for his blood, which keeps 
him and his children out of decent employment, from cer- 
tain public conveniences and amusements, from hiring 
houses in many sections, and in general, from being recog- 
nized as a man. Negroes regard this prejudice as the chief 
cause of their present unfortunate condition. On the other 
hand most white people are quite unconscious of any such 
powerful and vindictive feeling ; they regard color preju- 
dice as the easily explicable feeling that intimate social 
intercourse with a lower race is not only undesirable but 
impracticable if our present standards of culture are to 
be maintained ; and although they are aware that some 
people feel the aversion more intensely than others, they 
cannot see how such a feeling has much influence on the 
real situation, or alters the social condition of the mass of 
Negroes. 

As a matter of fact, color prejudice in this city is 
something between these two extreme views : it is not 
to-day responsible for all, or perhaps the greater part of 
the Negro problems, or of the disabilities under which the 
race labors ; on the other hand it is a far more powerful 
social force than most Philadelphians realize. The prac- 

(322) 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice, 323 

tical results of trie attitude of most of the inhabitants 
of Philadelphia toward persons of Negro descent are as 
follows : 

1. As to getting work : 

No matter how well trained a Negro may be, or how 
fitted for work of any kind, he cannot in the ordinary 
course of competition hope to be much more than a menial 
servant. 

He cannot get clerical or supervisory work to do save in 
exceptional cases. 

He cannot teach save- in a few of the remaining Negro 
schools. 

He cannot become a mechanic except for small transient 
jobs, and cannot join a trades union. 

A Negro woman has but three careers open to her in 
this city : domestic service, sewing, or married life. 

2. As to keeping work : 

The Negro suffers in competition more severely than 
white men. 

Change in fashion is causing him to be replaced by whites 
in the better paid positions of domestic service. 

Whim and accident will cause him to lose a hard-earned 
place more quickly than the same things would affect a 
white man. 

Being few in number compared with the whites the 
crime or carelessness of a few of his race is easily imputed 
to all, and the reputation of the good, industrious and 
reliable suffer thereby. 

Because Negro workmen may not often work side by 
side with white workmen, the individual black workman 
is rated not by his own efficiency, but by the efficiency of 
a whole group of black fellow workmen which may often 
be low. 

Because of these difficulties which virtually increase 
competition in his case, he is forced to take lower wages 
for the same work than white workmen. 



324 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

3. As to entering new lines of work : 

Men are used to seeing Negroes in inferior positions ; 
when, therefore, by any chance a Negro gets in a better 
position, most men immediately conclude that he is not 
fitted for it, even before he has a chance to show his fitness. 

If, therefore, he set up a store, men will not patronize 
him. 

If he is put into public position men will complain. 

If he gain a position in the commercial world, men will 
quietly secure his dismissal or see that a white man suc- 
ceeds him. 

4. As to his expenditure : 

The comparative smallness of the patronage of the 
Negro, and the dislike of other customers makes it usual 
to increase the charges or difficulties in certain directions 
in which a Negro must spend money. 

He must pay more house-rent for worse houses than 
most white people pay. 

He is sometimes liable to insult or reluctant service in 
some restaurants, hotels and stores, at public resorts, 
theatres and places of recreation ; and at nearly all barber- 
shops. 

5. As to his children : 

The Negro^finds it extremely difficult to rear children in 
such an atmosphere and not have them either cringing or 
impudent : if he impresses upon them patience with their 
lot, they may grow up satisfied with their condition ; if he 
inspires them with ambition to rise, they may grow to 
despise their own people, hate the whites and become 
embittered with the world. 

His children are discriminated against, often in public 
schools. 

They are advised when seeking employment to become 
waiters and maids. 

They are liable to species of insult and temptation 
peculiarly trying to children. 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 325 

6. As to social intercourse : 

In all walks of life the Negro is liable to meet some 
objection to his presence or some discourteous treatment ; 
and the ties of friendship or memory seldom are strong 
enough to hold across the color line. 

If an invitation is issued to the public -for any occasion, 
the Negro can never know whether he would be welcomed 
or not ; if he goes he is liable to have his feelings hurt and 
get into unpleasant altercation ; if he stays away, he is 
blamed for indifference. 

If he meet a lifelong white friend on the street, he is in 
a dilemma ; if he does not greet the friend he is put down 
as boorish and impolite ; if he does greet the friend he is 
liable to be flatly snubbed. 

If by chance he is introduced to a white woman or man, 
he expects to be ignored on the next meeting, and usually is. 

White friends may call on him, but he is scarcely 
expected to call on them, save for strictly business matters. 

If he gain the affections of a white woman and marry 
her he may invariably expect that slurs will be thrown on 
her reputation and on his, and that both his and her race 
will shun their company. 1 

When he dies he cannot be buried beside white corpses. 

7. The result : 

Any one of these things happening now and then would 
not be remarkable or call for especial comment ; but when 
one group of people suffer all these little differences of 
treatment and discriminations and insults continually, the 
result is either discouragement, or bitterness, or over-sensi- 
tiveness, or recklessness. And a people feeling thus cannot 
do their best. 

Presumably the first impulse of the average Philadelphian 
would be emphatically to deny any such marked and 
blighting discrimination as the above against a group of 
citizens in this metropolis. Every one knows that in the 

1 Cf. Section 49. 



326 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

past color prejudice in the city was deep and passionate ; 
living men can remember when a Negro could not sit in a 
street car or walk many streets in peace. These times 
have passed, however, and many imagine that active 
discrimination against the Negro has passed with them. 
Careful inquiry will convince any such one of his error. 
To be sure a colored man to-day can walk the streets of 
Philadelphia without personal insult ; he can go to 
theatres, parks and some places of amusement without 
meeting more than stares and discourtesy ; he can be 
accommodated at most hotels and restaurants, although his 
treatment in some would not be pleasant. All this is a 
vast advance and augurs much for the future. And yet all 
that has been said of the remaining discrimination is but 
too true. 

During the investigation of 1896 there was collected a 
number of actual cases, which may illustrate the discrimi- 
nations spoken of. So far as possible these have been 
sifted and only those which seem undoubtedly true have 
been selected. 2 

1. As to getting work. 

It is hardly necessary to dwell upon the situation of the 
Negro in regard to work in the higher walks of life : the 
white boy may start in the lawyer's office and work 
himself into a lucrative practice ; he may serve a 
physician as office boy or enter a hospital in a minor 
position, and have his talent alone between him and 



2 One of the questions on the schedule was : ' ' Have you had any 
difficulty in getting work? " another: "Have you had any difficulty in. 
renting houses?" Most of the answers were vague or general. Those 
that were definite and apparently reliable were, so far as possible, 
inquired into further, compared with other testimony and then used as 
material for working out a list of discriminations; single and isolated 
cases without corroboration were never taken. I believe those here 
presented are reliable, although naturally I may have been deceived in 
some stories. Of the general truth of the statement I am thoroughly 
convinced. 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 327 

affluence and fame ; if he is bright in school, he may 
make his mark in a university, become a tutor with some 
time and much inspiration for study, and eventually fill 
a professor's chair. All these careers are at the very 
outset closed to the Negro on account of his color ; what 
lawyer would give even a minor case to a Negro assistant? 
or what university would appoint a promising young 
Negro as tutor ? Thus the young white man starts in life 
knowing that within some limits and barring accidents, 
talent and application will tell. The young Negro starts 
knowing that on all sides his advance is made doubly 
difficult if not wholly shut off, by his color. Let us come, 
however, to ordinary occupations which concern more 
nearly the mass of Negroes. Philadelphia is a great indus- 
trial and business centre, with thousands of foremen, 
managers and clerks — the lieutenants of industry, who 
direct its progress. They are paid for thinking and for 
skill to direct, and naturally such positions are coveted 
because they are well paid, well thought-of and carry some 
authority. To such positions Negro boys and girls may 
not aspire no matter what their qualifications. Even as 
teachers and ordinary clerks and stenographers they find 
almost no openings. Let us note some actual instances : 

A young woman who graduated with credit from the 
Girls' Normal School in 1892, has taught in the kinder- 
garten, acted as substitute, and waited in vain for a per- 
manent position. Once she was allowed to substitute in a 
school with white teachers ; the principal commended her 
work, but when the permanent appointment was made a 
white woman got it. 

A girl who graduated from a Pennsylvania high school 
and from a business college sought work in the city as a 
stenographer and typewriter. A prominent lawyer under- 
took to find her a position ; he went to friends and said, 
" Here is a girl that does excellent work and is of good 
character ; can you not give her work ? " Several imme- 



328 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

diately answered yes. "But," said the lawyer, " I will be 
perfectly frank with you and tell you she is colored ;" and 
not in the whole city could he find a man willing to 
employ her. It happened, however, that the girl was so 
light in complexion that few not knowing would have 
suspected her descent. The lawyer therefore gave her 
temporary work in his own office until she found a position 
outside the city. " But," said he, " to this day I have not 
dared to tell my clerks that they worked* beside a Negress." 
Another woman graduated from the high school and the 
Palmer College of Shorthand, but all over the city has met 
with nothing but refusal of work. 

Several graduates in pharmacy have sought to get their 
three years required apprenticeship in the city and in only 
one case did one succeed, although they offered to work for 
nothing. One young pharmacist came from Massachusetts 
and for weeks sought in vain for work here at any price; 
" I wouldn't have a darky to clean out my store, much 
less to stand behind the counter," answered one druggist. 
A colored man answered an advertisement for a clerk in 
the suburbs. " What do you suppose we'd want of a 
nigger ? ' ' was the plain answer. A graduate of the 
University of Pennsylvania in mechanical engineering, 
well recommended, obtained work in the city, through an 
advertisement, on account of his excellent record. He 
worked a few hours and then was discharged because he 
was found to be colored. He is now a waiter at the 
University Club, where his white fellow graduates dine. 3 
Another young man attended Spring Garden Institute and 
studied drawing for lithography. He had good references 
from the institute and elsewhere, but application at the 
five largest establishments in the city could secure him no 
work. A telegraph operator has hunted in vain for an 
opening, and two graduates of the Central High School 

3 And is, of course, pointed out by some as typifying the educated 
Negro's success in life. 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 329 

have sunk to menial labor. " What's the use of an educa- 
tion ? " asked one. Mr. A has elsewhere been employed 

as a traveling salesman. He applied for a position here by 
letter and was told he could have one. When they saw 
him they had no work for him. 

Such cases could be multiplied indefinitely. . But that is 
not necessary ; one has but to note that notwithstanding 
the acknowledged ability of many colored men, the Negro 
is conspicuously absent from all places of honor, trust or 
emolument, as well as from those of respectable grade in 
commerce and industry. 

Even in the world of skilled labor the Negro is largely 
excluded. Many would explain the absence of Negroes 
from higher vocations by saying that while a few may now 
and then be found competent, the great mass are not fitted 
for that sort of work and are destined for some time to 
form a laboring class. In the matter of the trades, how- 
ever, there can be raised no serious question of ability ; 
for years the Negroes filled satisfactorily the trades of the 
city, and to-day in many parts of the South they are still 
prominent. And yet in Philadelphia a determined preju- 
dice, aided by public opinion, has succeeded nearly in 
driving them from the field: 

A , who works at a bookbinding establishment on 

Front street, has learned to bind books and often does so 
for his friends. He is not allowed to work at the trade in 
the shop, however, but must remain a porter at a porter's 
wages. 

B is a brushmaker ; he has applied at several estab- 
lishments, but they would not even examine his testi- 
monials. They simply said : " We do not employ colored 
people." 

C is a shoemaker ; he tried to get work in some of 

the large department stores. They " had no place" for him. 

D was a bricklayer, but experienced so much trouble 

in getting work that he is now a messenger. 



330 The Contact of the Races, [Chap. XV L 

E is a painter, but has found it impossible to get 



work because he is colored. 

F is a telegraph line man, who formerly worked in 

Richmond, Va. When he applied here he was told that 
Negroes were not employed. 

G is an iron puddler, who belonged to a Pittsburg 

union. Here he was not recognized as a union man and 
could not get work except as a stevedore. 

H was a cooper, but could get no work after repeated 

trials, and is now a common laborer. 

I is a candy maker, but has never been able to find 

employment in the city ; he is always told that the white 
help will not work with him. 

J is a carpenter ; he can only secure odd jobs or 

work where only Negroes are employed. 

K was an upholsterer, but could get no work save in 

the few colored shops, which had workmen ; he is now a 
waiter on a dining car. 

L was a first-class baker ; he applied for work some 

time ago near Green street and was told shortly, "We 
don't work no niggers here." 

M is a good typesetter ; he has not been allowed to 

join the union and has been refused work at eight different 
places in the city. 

N is a printer by trade, but can only find work as a 

porter. 

O is a sign-painter, but can get but little work. 

P is a painter and gets considerable work, but never 

with white workmen. 

Q is a good stationary engineer, but can find no 

employment ; is at present a waiter in a private family. 

R was born in Jamaica ; he went to England and 

worked fifteen years in the Sir Edward Green Economizing 
Works in Wakefield, Yorkshire. During dull times he 
emigrated to America, bringing excellent references. He 
applied for a place as mechanic in nearly all the large iron 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 331 

working establishments in the city. A locomotive works 
assured him that his letters were all right, but that their 
men would not work with Negroes. At a manufactory of 
railway switches they told him they had no vacancy and 
he could call again ; he called and finally was frankly told 
that they could not employ Negroes. He applied twice to 
a foundry company : they told him : " We have use for 
only one Negro — a porter," and refusing either further con- 
versation or even to look at his letters showed him out. 
He then applied for work on a new building ; the man 
told him he could leave an application, then added : " To 
tell the truth, its no use, for we don't employ Negroes." 
Thus the man has searched for work two years and has not 
yet found a permanent position. He can only support his 
family by odd jobs as a common laborer. 

S is a stonecutter ; he was refused work repeatedly 

on account of color. At last he got a job during a strike 
and was found to be so good a workman that his employer 
refused to dismiss him. 

T was a boy, who, together with a white boy came 

to the city to hunt work. The colored boy was very light 
in complexion, and consequently both were taken in as 
apprentices at a large locomotive works ; they worked 
there some months, but it was finally disclosed that the 
boy was colored; he was dismissed and the white boy 
retained. 

These all seem typical and reliable cases. There are, of 
course, some exceptions to the general rule, but even these 
seem to confirm the fact that exclusion is a matter of preju- 
dice and thoughtlessness which sometimes yields to determi- 
nation and good sense. The most notable case in point is that 
of the Midvale Steel Works, where a large number of Negro 
workmen are regularly employed as mechanics and work 
alongside whites. 4 If another foreman should take charge 
there, or if friction should arise, it would be easy for all 

4 Cf. Section 23. 



$2,2 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

this to receive a serious set-back, for ultimate success in 
such matters demands many experiments and a widespread 
public sympathy. 

There are several cases where strong personal influence 
has secured colored boys positions ; in one cabinet making 
factory, a porter who had served the firm thirty years, 
asked to have his son learn the trade and work in the 
shop. The workmen objected strenuously at first, but the 
employer was firm and the young man has been at work 
there now seven years. The S. S. White Dental Company 
has a colored chemist who has worked up to his place and 
gives satisfaction. A jeweler allowed his colored fellow- 
soldier in the late war to learn the gold beaters' trade and 
work in his shop. A few other cases follow : 

A was intimately acquainted with a merchant 

and secured his son a position as a typewriter in the 
merchant's office. 

B , a stationary engineer, came with his employer 

from Washington and still works with him. 

C , a plasterer, learned his trade with a firm in 

Virginia who especially recommended him to the firm 
where he now works. 

D is a boy whose mother's friend got him work 

as cutter in a bag and rope factory ; the hands objected 
but the friend's influence was strong enough to keep him 
there. 

All these exceptions prove the rule, viz., that without 
strong effort and special influence it is next to impossible 
for a Negro in Philadelphia to get regular employment in 
most of the trades, except he work as an independent 
workman and take small transient jobs. 

The chief agency that brings about this state of affairs 
is public opinion ; if they were not intrenched, and strongly 
intrenched, back of an active prejudice or at least passive 
acquiescence in this effort to deprive Negroes of a decent 
livelihood, both trades unions and arbitrary bosses would be 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 333 

powerless to do the harm they now do ; where, however, a 
large section of the public more or less openly applaud the 
stamina of a man who refuses to work with a "Nigger," the 
results are inevitable. The object of the trades union is 
purely business-like ; it aims to restrict the labor market, just 
as the manufacturer aims to raise the price of his goods. 
Here is a chance to keep out of the market a vast number 
of workmen, and the unions seize the chance save in cases 
where they dare not as in the case of the cigar-makers and 
coal-miners. If they could keep out the foreign workmen 
in the same way they -would ; but here public opinion 
within and without their ranks forbids hostile action. Of 
course, most unions do not flatly declare their discrimi- 
nations ; a few plainly put the word " white " into their 
constitutions ; most of them do not and will say that they 
consider each case on its merits. Then they quietly black- 
ball the Negro applicant. Others delay and temporize and 
put off action until the Negro withdraws ; still others 
discriminate against the Negro in initiation fees and dues, 
making a Negro pay $100, where the whites pay $25. On 
the other hand in times of strikes or other disturbances 
cordial invitations to join are often sent to Negro work- 
men. 5 

At a time when women are engaged in bread winning to a 
larger degree than ever before, the field open to Negro 
women is unusually narrow. This is, of course, due largely 
to the more intense prejudices of females on all subjects, 

6 Two newspaper clippings will illustrate the attitude of the workmen ; 
the first relates to the Chinese apprentices taken into the Baldwin Loco- 
motive Works: 

The announcement that the Baldwins had taken five Chinese appren- 
tices made quite a stir among labor leaders. Some of them worked 
themselves into quite a fever of indignation. Charles P. Patrick, grand 
organizer of the Boilermakers' Union, was quite outspoken on the 
subject. 

He said: "All this plan of putting Chinamen in to learn trades sounds 
nice and charitable to the Christian League, but how does it sound to the 
ears of American mechanics who are walking the streets in search of 



334 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

and especially to the fact that women who work dislike to 
be in any way mistaken for menials, and they regard Negro 
women as menials par excellence. 

A , a dressmaker and seamstress of proven ability, 

employment ? I have traveled all over this country and Mexico, and I 
have never before seen Chinamen given places over the heads of Ameri- 
cans. In the West and in Mexico, Chinese labor is plentiful, but the 
Chinamen are given only menial positions. They are servants, helpers 
in the mines and laborers. I never before heard of a Chinaman being 
given a place as an apprentice in a shop. 

" Our government excludes Chinese labor from this country, yet here 
is the Christian League seeking to put forbidden immigrants in a position 
where they, with their peculiarly cheap, even beggarly style of living, 
can compete with American labor. I have only been in this city for a 
few days, but I venture to say I have seen more beggars and men out of 
work around Eighth and Market streets than I have seen in the whole 
City of Mexico." 

Missionary Frederic Poole disposed of this argument in a few words. 
He said: "It is not my idea, nor the idea of Mr. Converse, that these 
men should at any time compete with American workingmen. It is not 
the wish of the men themselves. Mr. Converse would not have given 
them employment had any such thing been intended. 

" To-day China is building a vast railroad to Pekin that will open up 
all the wealthy and fertile region of Central China. The enterprise is 
under the direction of the government. It will be in operation in about 
four years. Men of intelligence will be needed for engineers, and there 
my five prot6g6s will find their life work. It is not unlikely that the 
Chinese Government will send for them before their apprenticeship is 
over. ' ' 

John H. Converse was rather interested when he learned of objections 
to his Chinese apprentices. " We might have expected such objections 
from professional agitators," he said, "but I do not think you will learn 
of any among our employes." 

Continuing, he said: "The Baldwin Locomotive Works is now con- 
structing eight locomotives for the Chinese Government, which will be 
the first to run over the great new railroad being built from Pekin to 
Tien-Tsin. American workingmen would be very narrow indeed if they 
cannot see that it is to their own immediate advantage that Chinese 
mechanics fit to look after American locomotives shall be trained at once, 
for the time is coming when thousands of American workingmen may be 
kept busy from the extension of railroad building in China. 

"These five boys are Philadelphians. They were not brought here, 
and every broad-minded mechanic will believe that their apprenticeship 
in our shops, should they, as they probably will, return to China, must 
mean something for the American locomotive. They are the first to be 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 335 

sought work in the large department stores. They all 
commended her work, but could not employ her on account 
of her color. 

B is a typewriter, but has applied at stores and 



admitted to a locomotive works in this country, and the news will in all 
likelihood create a more friendly feeling in the railroad department of 
the Chinese Government for American products." 

Mr. Converse said that his firm had no thought of extending the privi- 
lege beyond the present number of Chinese apprentices. — Philadelphia 
Public Ledger, January 5, 1897. 

No Negro apprentices have ever been admitted. 

The other clipping is a report of the discussion in the annual meeting 
of the Federation of Labor: 

The Negro question occupied the major portion of the session, and 
a heated discussion was brought on by a resolution by Henry Lloyd, 
reaffirming the declarations of the Federation that all labor, without 
regard to color, is welcome to its ranks — denouncing as untrue in fact 
the reported statements of Booker T. Washington that the trades unions 
were placing obstacles in the way of the material advancement of the 
Negro, and appealing to the records of the Federation Conventions 
as complete answers to such false assertions. 

This resolution caused much spirited discussion. Delegate Jones, of 
Augusta, Ga., spoke, claiming that the white laborer could not compete 
with the Negro laborer, though organization would improve conditions 
materially. President Gompers took part in the discussion, explaining 
that the movement was not against the Negro laborer, but against the 
cheap laborer, and that the textile workers of the East had been com- 
pelled to contribute most of their means to teach laborers in the South 
the benefits of organization. 

He also made the point that the capitalist would profit by the failure 
of the Negro laborers to organize, thus making the Negro an impediment 
to labor movements. 

C. P. Frahey, a Nashville delegate, insisted that the Negro was not the 
equal of the white man socially or industrially. He grew warm in speak- 
ing of President Gompers' remarks regarding the Negro in the labor 
movement, and stated that the President had not revoked the commission 
of a National Organizer who had patronized a non-union white barber 
shop in preference to a union Negro barber shop. 

The organizer had simply been allowed to resign and no publicity had 
"been"given the matter. In answer to a question desiring the name of the 
party, jFrahey stated it was Jesse Johnson, president of the pressmen. 

James O'Connell and P. J. McGuire spoke for the resolution. The 
latterjjnsisted that Booker T. Washington was attempting to put the 
Negro^before the public as the victim of gross injustice, and himself as the 



336 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

offices in vain for work ; " very sorry " they all say, but 
they can give her no work. She has answered many 
advertisements without result. 

C has attended the Girls High School for two 

years, and has been unable to find any work ; she is wash- 
ing and sewing for a living now. 

D is a dressmaker and milliner, and does bead 

work. " Your work is very good," they say to her, " but 
if we hired you all of our ladies would leave." 

K , a seamstress, was given work from a store 

once, to do at home. It was commended as satisfactory, 
but they gave her no more. 

F had two daughters who tried to get work as 

stenographers, but got only one small job. 

G is a graduate of the Girls High School, with 

excellent record ; both teachers and influential friends 
have been seeking work for her but have not been able to 
find any. 

H a girl, applied at seven stores for some work 

not menial ; they had none. 

I started at the Schuylkill, on Market street, and 

applied at almost every store nearly to the Delaware, for 
work ; she was only offered scrubbing. 6 



Moses of the race. M. D. Rathford insisted that drawing the color line 
would be a blow to the miners' organization. 

W. D. Mahon charged that Jones was not a representative of Southern 
trades unionism, having just joined the ranks. Jones then, in his own 
defence, declared he did not oppose the Negro, but did contend that the 
Negro laborer was lower than the white, citing an Atlanta case, where 
whites and blacks had been jointly employed and the whites struck. 

He wanted to know if there had been any efforts made in the East to 
organize Chinese who came in conflict with the union labor. President 
Gompers then ruled that the discussion must cease. 

The resolution which had caused the heated debate was adopted, and 
the delegates went into executive session. — Public Ledger, December 
17, 1897. 

6 From the facts tabulated, it appears that one-twentieth of the colored 
domestic servants of Philadelphia have trades, while in addition to this 
one-tenth have had some higher school training and are presumably 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 337 

2. So much for the difficulty of getting work. In 
addition to this the Negro is meeting difficulties in keeping 
the work he has, or at least the better part of it. Out- 
side of all dissatisfaction with Negro work there are whims 



fitted to be something more than ordinary domestics. Why then do they 
not enter these fields instead of drifting into or deliberately choosing 
domestic service as a means of livelihood? The answer is simple. 
In a majority of cases the reason why they do not enter other fields 
is because they are colored not because they are incompetent. Many 
instances might be cited in proof of this, were proof needed. The 
following cases are only some of. those that were personally encountered by 
the investigator in one ward of one city. 

One very fair young girl, apparently a white girl, was employed as a 
clerk in one of the large department stores for over two years, so that 
there was no question of her competency as a clerk. At the end of this> 
time it was discovered that she had colored blood and she was promptly 
discharged. One young woman who had been a teacher and is now a 
school janitress, teaching occasionally when extra help is needed, states 
that she had received an appointment as typewriter in a certain Philadel- 
phia office, on the strength of her letter of application and when she 
appeared and was seen to be a colored girl, the position was refused her. 
She said that her brother — whom people usually take to be a white man 
— after serving in the barbershop of a certain hotel for more than ten 
years, was summarily discharged when it was learned that he was of 
Negro birth. One woman, who was a seamstress and dressmaker, stated 
that she had on several occasions gotten work from a certain church 
home when ^he wore a heavy veil, on making her application at the 
office, but that on the first occasion when she wore no veil her applica- 
tion was refused and had been every time since. Of course many of the 
men in domestic service have had similar experiences. Ten men out 
of one hundred and fifty-six had trades, but none of them were members 
of the trades unions. 

Mr. McGuire, vice-president of the Federation of Labor, stated to the 
present investigator that the Federation claims that colored men may 
be members of any trade union represented in the Federation. But what 
this profession amounts to may be judged from Mr. McGuire's further 
statement, quoted verbatim: "A majority are willing to have them 
admitted, but a strong minority will oppose it. Not a word will be said 
against it in discussion, but quietly at the ballot they will rule them out." 

How this profession of admission, which amounts to practical exclu- 
sion, looks from the workingman's point of view is shown in the experi- 
ence of a first-rate colored carpenter and builder in the Seventh Ward 
who was induced to apply for admission to the Carpenters' Union. He 
asked an officer of the Amalgamated Association of Carpenters and 
22 



338 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

and fashions that affect his economic position ; to-day 
general European travel has made the trained English 
servant popular and consequently well-shaven white men- 
servants, whether English or not, find it easy to replace 



Joiners, one of the allied societies of the American Federation of Labor, 
if it would be of any use for him to apply to the Union for membership. 
" If you know your trade and are a carpenter in good and regular 
standing, I see no reason why you should not become a member," said 
the officer. " So he sent me to the present secretary of the association, 
and when I put the question to him, he said, ' Well, he didn't know 
whether I could join or not, because they had never had a colored man 
in the Union, but he would report it to the association here [Philadelphia] 
and would write to headquarters in New York to see if it would be admis- 
sible to enter a colored man. ' He put it on the ground of my color, you 
see." This application was made in December, 1896. The applicant was 
told that the matter would be acted on in the Union on a certain night in 
January, 1897, and every attempt was made to send a man to report that 
particular meeting, but without success. What occurred is not hard to 
guess, however, since the colored carpenter whose case was then consid- 
ered has received no word from the Union from that day to this. He has 
called at the secretary's office three or four times and left word that he 
would like to hear what action was taken regarding his application for 
admission to the Union, but December 1, 1897, he had received no answer 
to his application made in December, 1896. 

The effect of this is well illustrated by the case of a young colored 
" waiter man " on Pine street, whose case may be taken as typical. He 
had studied three years at Hampton, where he had learned in that time 
the stone-cutter's trade. He could practice this in Georgia, he said, but 
in the South stone-cutters get only $2.00 a day as compared with $3.50, 
sometimes $4.00 a day, in the North. So he came North with the promise 
of a job of stone-cutting for a new block of buildings to be erected by a 
Philadelphian he had met in Georgia. He received $3.50 a day, but when 
the block was done he could get no other job at stone-cutting and so 
went into domestic service, where he is receiving $6.25 a week instead of 
the #21.00 a week he should be receiving as a stone-cutter. 

The effect on domestic service is to swell its already over-full ranks with 
discontented young men and women whom one would naturally expect 
to find rendering half-hearted service because they consider their domestic 
work only a temporary makeshift employment. One sometimes hears it 
said that " our waiter has graduated from such and such a school, but we 
notice that he is not even a very good waiter." Such comments give rise 
to the speculation as to the success in ditch digging which would be likely 
to attend upon the labors of college professors, or indeed, how many of 
the young white men who have graduated from college and from law 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice, 339 

Negro butlers and coachmen at higher wages. Again, 
though a man ordinarily does not dismiss all his white 
mill-hands because some turn out badly, yet it repeatedly 
happens that men dismiss all their colored servants and 
condemn their race because one or two in their employ 
have proven untrustworthy. Finally, the antipathies of 
lower classes are so great that it is often impracticable to 
mix races among the servants. A young colored girl 
went to work temporarily in Germantown ; "I should like 
so much to keep you permanently," said the mistress, " but 
all my other servants are white." She was discharged. 
Usually now advertisements for help state whether white 
or Negro servants are wanted, and the Negro who applies 
at the wrong place must not be surprised to have the door 
slammed in his face. 

The difficulties encountered by the Negro on account of 
sweeping conclusions made about him are manifold ; a 
large building, for instance, has several poorly paid Negro 
janitors, without facilities for their work or guidance in its 
prosecution. Finally the building is thoroughly overhauled 
or rebuilt, elevators and electricity installed and a well-paid 
set of white uniformed janitors put to work under a re- 
sponsible salaried chief. Immediately the public concludes 
that the improvement in the service is due to the change 
of color. In some cases, of course, the change is due to a 
widening of the field of choice in selecting servants ; for 
assuredly one cannot expect that one twenty-fifth of the 
population can furnish as many good workmen or as 
uniformly good ones as the other twenty-four twenty-fifths. 
One actual case illustrates this tendency to exclude the 



schools would show themselves excellent waiters, particularly if they 
took up the work simply as a temporary expedient. A "match " between 
Yale and Hampton, where mental activities must be confined to the 
walls of the butler's pantry, and where there were to be no "fumbles" 
with soup plates, might bring out interesting and suggestive points. 

Isabel Eaton. 



340 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

Negro without proper consideration from even menial 
employment : 

A. great church which has a number of members among 
the most respectable Negro families in the city has recently 
erected a large new building for its offices, etc., in the city. 
As the building was nearing completion a colored clergy- 
man of that sect was surprised to hear that no Negroes 
were to be employed in the building ; he thought that a 
peculiar stand for a Christian church to take and so he went 
to the manager of the building ; the manager blandly 
assured him that the rumor was true ; and that there was 
not the shadow of a chance for a Negro to get employment 
under him, except one woman to clean the water closet. 
The reason for this, he said, was that the janitors and help 
were all to be uniformed and the whites would not wear 
uniforms with Negroes. The clergyman thereupon went 
to a prominent member of the church who was serving on 
the building committee ; he denied that the committee had 
made any such decision, but sent him to another member 
of the committee ; this member said the same thing and 
referred to the third, a blunt business man. The business 

man said : " That building is called the Church 

House, but it is more than that, it is a business enterprise, 
to be run on business principles. We hired a man to run 
it so as to get the most out of it. We found such a man 
in the present manager, and put all power in his hands." 
He acknowledged then, that while the committee had 
made no decision, the question of hiring Negroes had come 
up and it was left solely to the manager's decision. The 
manager thought most Negroes were dishonest and untrust- 
worthy, etc. And thus the Christian church joins hands 
with trades unions and a large public opinion to force 
Negroes into idleness and crime. 

Sometimes Negroes, by special influence, as has been 
pointed out before, secure good positions; then there are 
other cases where colored men have by sheer merit and 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 341 

pluck secured positions. In all these cases, However, they 
are liable to lose their places through no fault of their own 
and primarily on account of their Negro blood. It may be 
that at first their Negro descent is not known, or other 
causes may operate ; in all cases the Negro's tenure of 
office is insecure : 

A worked in a large tailor's establishment on 

Third street for three weeks. His work was acceptable. 
Then it became known he was colored and he was dis- 
charged as the other tailors refused to work with him. 

B , a pressman, was employed on Twelfth street, but 

a week later was discharged when they knew he was 
colored ; he then worked as a door-boy for five years, and 
finally got another job in a Jewish shop as pressman. 

C was nine years a painter in Stewart's Furniture 

Factory, until Stewart failed four years ago. Has 
applied repeatedly, but could get no work on account of 
color. He now works as a night watchman on the streets 
for the city. 

D was a stationary engineer ; his employer died, 

and he has never been able to find another. 

E was light in complexion and got a job as driver ; 

he " kept his cap on," but when they found he was colored 
they discharged him. 

F was one of many colored laborers at an ink 

factory. The heads of the firm died, and now whenever a 
Negro leaves a white man is put in his place. 

G worked for a long time as a typesetter on Tag- 

gart's Times; when the paper changed hands he was 
discharged and has never been able to get another job ; he 
is now a janitor. 

H was a brickmason, but his employers finally 

refused to let him lay brick longer as his fellow workmen 
were all white ; he is now a waiter. 

L, learned the trade of range-setting from his 

employer ; the employer then refused him work and he 



342 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

went into business for himself ; he has taught four appren- 
tices. 

M is a woman whose husband was janitor for a 

firm twenty years ; when they moved to the new Betz 
Building they discharged him as all the janitors there were 
white ; after his death they could find no work for his boy. 

N was a porter in a book store and rose to be head 

postmaster of a sub-station in Philadelphia which handles 
$250,000, it is said, a year ; he was also at the head of a 
very efficient Bureau of Information in a large department 
store. Recently attempts have been made to displace 
him, for no specified fault hut because "we want his place 
for another [white J man." 

O is a well-known instance; an observer in 1898 

wrote : u If any Philadelphian who is anxious to study the 
matter with his own eyes, will walk along South Eleventh 
street, from Chestnut down, and will note the most tasteful 
and enterprising stationery and periodical store along the 
way, it will pay him to enter it. On entering he will, accord- 
ing to his way of thinking, be pleased or grieved to see that 
it is conducted by Negroes. If the proprietor happens to be 
in he may know that this keen-looking pleasant young 
man was once assistant business manager of a large white 
religious newspaper in the city. A change of management 
led to his dismissal. No fault was found, his work was 
commended, but a white man was put into his place, and 
profuse apologies made. 

"The clerk behind the counter is his sister; a neat lady- 
like woman, educated, and trained in stenography and 
typewriting. She could not find in the city of Philadel- 
phia, any one who had the slightest use for such a colored 
woman. 

" The result of this situation is this little store, which is 
remarkably successful. The proprietor owns the stock, 
the store and the building. This is one tale of its sort with 
a pleasant ending. Other tales are far less pleasing." 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice, 343 

Much discouragement results from the persistent refusal 
to promote colored employes. The humblest white 
employe knows that the better he does his work the more 
chance there is for him to rise in the business. The black 
employe knows that the better he does his work the longer 
he may do it ; he cannot often hope for promotion. This 
makes much of the criticism aimed against Negroes, 
because some of them want to refuse menial labor, lose 
something of its point. If the better class of Negro boys 
could look on such labor as a stepping-stone to some- 
thing higher it would be different ; if they must view it as 
a lifework we cannot wonder at their hesitation : 

A has been a porter at a great locomotive works for 

ten years. He is a carpenter by trade and has picked up 
considerable knowledge of machinery ; he was formerly 
allowed to work a little as a machinist ; now that is stopped 
and he has never been promoted and probably never will be. 

B has worked in a shop eight years and never been 

promoted from his porter's position, although he is a capa- 
ble man. 

C is a porter ; he has been in a hardware store six 

years ; he is bright and has repeatedly been promised 
advancement but has never got it. 

D was for seven years in a gang of porters in a 

department store, and part of the time acted as foreman. 
He had a white boy under him who disliked him ; 
eventually the boy was promoted but he remained a 
porter. Finally the boy became his boss and discharged 
him. 

E , a woman, worked long in a family of lawyers ; a 

white lad went into their office as office-boy and came to 
be a member of the firm ; she had a smart, ambitious son 
and asked for any sort of office work for him — anything in 
which he could hope for promotion. " Why don't you 
make him a waiter?" they asked. 

F has for twenty-one years driven for a lumber 



344 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

firm ; speaks German and is very useful to them, but they 
have never promoted him. 

G was a porter ; he begged for a chance to work up ; 

offering to do clerical work for nothing, but was refused. 
White companions were repeatedly promoted over his head. 
He has been a porter seventeen years. 

H was a servant in the family of one of the members 

of a large dry goods firm ; he was so capable that the 
employer sent him down to the store for a place which 
the manager very reluctantly gave him. He rose to be 
registering clerk in the delivering department where he 
worked fourteen years and his work was commended. 
Recently without notice or complaint he was changed to 
run an elevator at the same wages. He thinks that pres- 
sure from other members of the firm made him lose his work. 

Once in a while there are exceptions to this rule. The 
Pennsylvania Railroad has promoted one bright and persis- 
tent porter to a clerkship, which he has held for years. 
He had, however, spent his life hunting chances for promo- 
tion and had been told " You have ability enough, George, 
if you were not colored ." 

There is much discrimination against Negroes in wages. 7 



7 In the case of the Colored people, the number of mother wage- 
earners more than doubles the number of widows. This is due to the 
small average wage of the Colored husband — the smallest among the 
twenty-seven nationalities. The laundress is the economic supplement 
of the porter. . . . It is not because the Colored husband of this 
district neglects his responsibility as a wage-winner that so many Colored 
women are forced into supplemental toil, for 98.7 per cent of the Colored 
husbands are wage-earners, and only 92.2 per cent of the Ameiican, 90.3 
per cent of the Irish, 96 per cent of the German, 93.7 per cent of the 
Italian, 93.1 per cent of the French. The Danes, 80 per cent; Cana- 
dians, 81.8 per cent; Russians, 85.7 per cent, and Hungarians, 88.8 per 
cent, have the smallest percentages. Of the more largely represented 
nationalities, the French most nearly approach the Colored people in the 
percentage of their wives who are wage-earners; but while the French 
percentage is 21.6 per cent, the Colored people's percentage is 53.6 per 
cent." Dr. W. Laidlaw in the "Report of a Sociological Canvass of the 
Nineteenth Assembly District," a slum section of New York City, in 
1897. 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 345 

The Negroes have fewer chances for work, have been used 
to low wages, and consequently the first thought that 
occurs to the average employer is to give a Negro less than 
he would offer a white man for the same work. This is 
not universal, but it is widespread. In domestic service 
of the ordinary sort there is no difference, because the 
wages are a matter of custom. When it comes to waiters, 
butlers and coachmen, however, there is considerable 
difference made ; while white coachmen receive from 
$50-$75, the Negroes do not get usually more than 
$3<d-$6o. Negro hotel waiters get from $1 8-$ 20, while 
whites receive $20-$30. Naturally when a hotel manager 
replaces $20 men with $30 men he may expect, outside 
any question of color, better service. 

In ordinary work the competition forces down the wages 
outside mere race reasons, though the Negro is the greatest 
sufferer ; this is especially the case in laundry work. 
" I've counted as high as seven dozen pieces in that wash- 
ing," said a weary black woman, " and she pays me only 
$1.25 a week for it." Persons who throw away $5 a 
week on gew-gaws will often haggle over twenty-five cents 
with a washerwoman. There are, however, notable excep- 
tions to these cases, where good wages are paid to persons 
who have long worked for the same family. 

Very often if a Negro is given a chance to work at a 
trade his wages are cut down for the privilege. This gives 
the workingman's prejudice additional intensity: 

A got a job formerly held by a white porter ; the 

wages were reduced from $12 to $8. 

B worked for a firm as china packer, and they said 

he was the best packer they had. He, however, received 
but $6 a week while the white packers received $12. 

C has been porter and assistant shipping clerk in an 

Arch street store for five years. He receives $6 a week 
and whites get $8 for the same work. 

D is a stationary engineer ; he learned his trade 



346 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

with this firm and has been with them ten years. Formerly 
he received $9 a week, now $10.50 ; whites get $12 for the 
same work. 

B is a stationary engineer and has been in his place 

three years. He receives but $9 a week. 

F works with several other Negroes with a firm of 

electrical engineers. The white laborers receive $2 a 
day : " We've got to be glad to get $1.75. " 

G was a carpenter, but could get neither sufficient 

work nor satisfactory wages. For a job on which he 
received $15 a week, his white successor got $18. 

H , a cementer, receives $1.75 a day ; white work- 
men get $2-$3- He has been promised more next fall. 

I , a plasterer, has worked for one boss twenty-seven 

years. Regular plasterers get $4 or more a day ; he does 
the same work, but cannot join the union and is paid as a 
laborer — $2.50 a day. 

J works as a porter in a department store ; is mar- 
ried, and receives $8 a week. " They pay the same to 
white unmarried shop-girls, who stand a chance to be 
promoted." 

3. If a Negro enters some line of employment in which 
people are not used to seeing him, he suffers from an 
assumption that he is unfit for the work. It is reported 
that a Chestnut street firm once took a Negro shop girl,, 
but the protests of their customers were such that they had 
to dismiss her. A great many merchants hesitate to 
advance Negroes lest they should lose custom. Negro 
merchants who have attempted to start business in the city 
at first encounter much difficulty from this prejudice: 

A has a bakery ; white people sometimes enter and 

finding Negroes in charge abruptly leave. 

B is a baker and had a shop some years on Vine 

street, but prejudice against him barred him from gaining 
much custom. 

C is a successful expressman with a large business ; 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 347 

he is sometimes told by persons that they prefer to 
patronize white expressmen. 

D is a woman and keeps a hair store on South 

street. Customers sometimes enter, look at her, and leave. 

B is a music teacher on Lombard street. Several 

white people have "entered and seeing him, said-: " Oh ! I 
thought you were white — excuse me ! " or " I'll call again ! " 

Even among the colored people themselves some preju- 
dice of this sort is met. Once a Negro physician could 
not get the patronage of Negroes because they were not 
used to the innovation. . Now they have a large part of the 
Negro patronage. The Negro merchant, however, still 
lacks the full confidence of his own people though this is 
slowly growing. It is one of the paradoxes of this question 
to see a people so discriminated against sometimes add to 
their misfortunes by discriminating against themselves. 
They themselves, however, are beginning to recognize this. 

4. The chief discrimination against Negroes in expendi- 
ture is in the matter of rents. There can be no reasonable 
doubt but that Negroes pay excessive rents : 

A paid $13 a month where the preceding white 

family had paid $10. 

B paid $16 ; "heard that former white family paid 

$12." 

C paid $25 ; " heard that former white family paid 

$20." 

D paid $12 ; neighbors say that former white family 

paid $9. 

E paid $25, instead of $18. 

F paid $12, instead of $10. 

G the Negro inhabitants of the whole street pay $12 

to $14 and the whites $9 and $10. The houses are all 
alike. 

H , whites on this street pay $15-$ 18 ; Negroes pay 

$l8-$2I. 

Not only is there this pretty general discrimination in 



348 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

rent, but agents and owners will not usually repair the 
houses of the blacks willingly or improve them. In 
addition to this agents and owners in many sections utterly 
refuse to rent to Negroes on any terms. Both these sorts 
of discrimination are easily defended from a merely business 
point of view ; public opinion in the city is such that the 
presence of even a respectable colored family in a block 
will affect its value for renting or sale ; increased rent to 
Negroes is therefore a sort of insurance, and refusal to 
rent a device for money-getting. The indefensible cruelty 
lies with those classes who refuse to recognize the right of 
respectable Negro citizens to respectable houses. Real 
estate agents also increase prejudice by refusing to dis- 
criminate between different classes of Negroes. A quiet 
Negro family moves into a street. The agent finds no 
great objection, and allows the next empty house to go to 
any Negro who applies. This family may disgrace and 
scandalize the neighborhood and make it harder for decent 
families to find homes. 8 

In the last fifteen years, however, public opinion has so 
greatly changed in this matter that we may expect much 
in the future. To-day the Negro population is more widely 
scattered over the city than ever before. At the same time 
it remains true that as a rule they must occupy the worst 
houses of the districts where they live. The advance 
made has been a battle for the better class of Negroes. An 
ex-Minister to Hayti moved to the northwestern part of 
the city and his white neighbors insulted him, barricaded 
their steps against him, and tried in every way to make 
him move ; to-day he is honored and respected in the 
whole neighborhood. Many such cases have occurred ; in 



8 Undoubtedly certain classes of Negroes bring much deserved criti- 
cism on themselves by irregular payment or default of rent, and by the 
poor care they take of property. They must not, however, be con- 
founded with the better classes who make good customers ; this is again 
a place for careful discrimination. 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 349 

others the result was different. An estimable young Negro, 
just married, moved with his bride into a little street. The 
neighborhood rose in arms and besieged the tenant and the 
landlord so relentlessly that the landlord leased the house 
and compelled the young couple to move within a month. 
One of the bishops of the A. M. E. Church recently moved 
into the newly purchased Episcopal residence on Belmont 
avenue, and his neighbors have barricaded their porches 
against his view. 

5. The chief discrimination against Negro children is in 
the matter of educational facilities. Prejudice here works 
to compel colored children to attend certain schools where 
most Negro children go, or to keep them out of private 
and higher schools. 

A tried to get her little girl into the kindergarten 

nearest to her, at Fifteenth and L,ocust. The teachers 
wanted her to send it down across Broad to the kinder- 
garten chiefly attended by colored children and much 
further away from its home. This journey was dangerous 
for the child, but the teachers refused to receive it for six 
months, until the authorities were appealed to. 

In transfers from schools Negroes have difficulty in 
getting convenient accommodations ; only within compara- 
tively few years have Negroes been allowed to complete 
the course at the High and Normal Schools without diffi- 
culty. Earlier than that the University of Pennsylvania 
refused to let Negroes sit in the Auditorium and listen to lec- 
tures, much less to be students. Within two or three years 
a Negro student had to fight his way through a city dental 
school with his fists, and was treated with every indignity. 
Several times Negroes have been asked to leave schools of 
stenography, etc., on account of their fellow students. In 
1893 a colored woman applied at Temple College, a church 
institution, for admission and was refused and advised to 
go elsewhere. The college then offered scholarships to 
churches, but would not admit applicants from colored 



350 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

churches. Two years later the same woman applied again. 
The faculty declared that they did not object, but that the 
students would ; she persisted and was finally admitted 
with evident reluctance. 

It goes without saying that most private schools, music 
schools, etc., will not admit Negroes and in some cases 
have insulted applicants. 

Such is the tangible form of Negro prejudice in Phila- 
delphia. Possibly some of the particular cases cited can 
be proven to have had extenuating circumstances unknown 
to the investigator ; at the same time many not cited would 
be just as much in point. At any rate no one who has with 
any diligence studied the situation of the Negro in the city 
can long doubt but that his opportunities are limited and 
his ambition circumscribed about as has been shown. There 
are of course numerous exceptions, but the mass of the 
Negroes have been so often refused openings and discour- 
aged in efforts to better their condition that many of them 
say, as one said, " I never apply — I know it is useless. " 
Beside these tangible and measurable forms there are 
deeper and less easily described results of the attitude of 
the white population toward the Negroes : a certain 
manifestation of a real or assumed aversion, a spirit of 
ridicule or patronage, a vindictive hatred in some, absolute 
indifference in others ; all this of course does not make 
much difference to the mass of the race, but it deeply 
wounds the better classes, the very classes who are attain- 
ing to that to which we wish the mass to attain. Notwith- 
standing all this, most Negroes would patiently await the 
effect of time and commonsense on such prejudice did it 
not to-day touch them in matters of life and death ; 
threaten their homes, their food, their children, their hopes. 
And the result of this is bound to be increased crime, 
inefficiency and bitterness. 

It would, of course, be idle to assert that most of the 
Negro crime was caused by prejudice ; the violent economic 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 351 

and social changes which the last fifty years have brought 
to the American Negro, the sad social history that preceded 
these changes, have all contributed to unsettle morals and 
pervert talents. Nevertheless it is certain that Negro 
prejudice in cities like Philadelphia has been a vast factor 
in aiding and abetting all other causes which impel a 
half-developed race to recklessness and excess. Certainly 
a great amount of crime can be without doubt traced to the 
discrimination against Negro boys and girls in the matter 
of employment. Or to put it differently, Negro prejudice 
costs the city something. 

The connection of crime and prejudice is, on the other 
hand, neither simple nor direct. The boy who is refused 
promotion in his job as porter does not go out and snatch 
somebody's pocketbook. Conversely the loafers at Twelfth 
and Kater streets, and the thugs in the county prison are 
not usually graduates of high schools who have been 
refused work. The connections are much more subtle and 
dangerous ; it is the atmosphere of rebellion and discontent 
that unrewarded merit and reasonable but unsatisfied 
ambition make. The social environment of excuse, listless 
despair, careless indulgence and lack of inspiration to 
work is the growing force that turns black boys and girls 
into gamblers, prostitutes and rascals. And this social 
environment has been built up slowly out of the dis- 
appointments of deserving men and the sloth of the un- 
awakened. How long can a city say to a part of its citizens, 
u It is useless to work ; it is fruitless to deserve well of 
men ; education will gain you nothing but disappointment 
and humiliation ? " How long can a city teach its black 
children that the road to success is to have a white face ? 
How long can a city do this and escape the inevitable 
penalty ? 

For thirty years and more Philadelphia has said to its 
black children : " Honesty, efficiency and talent have little 
to do with your success ; if you work hard, spend little and 



352 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

are good you may earn your bread and butter at those sorts 
of work which we frankly confess we despise ; if you are 
dishonest and lazy, the State will furnish your bread free."* 
Thus the class of Negroes which the prejudices of the city 
have distinctly encouraged is that of the criminal, the lazy 
and the shiftless ; for them the city teems with institutions 
and charities ; for them there is succor and sympathy ; for 
them Philadelphians are thinking and planning ; but for 
the educated and industrious young colored man who 
wants work and not platitudes, wages and not alms, just 
rewards and not sermons — for such colored men Philadel- 
phia apparently has no use. 

What then do such men do? What becomes of the 
graduates of the many schools of the city ? The answer 
is simple : most of those who amount to anything leave 
the city, the others take what they can get for a livelihood. 
L,et us for a moment glance at the statistics of three colored 
schools : 9 

i. The O. V. Catto Primary School. 

2. The Robert Vaux Grammar School. 

3. The Institute for Colored Youth. 

There attended the Catto school, 1867-97, 59 I 5 pupils. 
Of these there were promoted from the full course, 653. 
129 of the latter are known to be in positions of higher 
grade ; or taking out 93 who are still in school, there 
remain 36 as follows: 18 teachers, 10 clerks, 2 physicians, 
2 engravers, 2 printers, 1 lawyer and 1 mechanic. 

The other 524 are for the most part in service, laborers 
and housewives. Of the 36 more successful ones fully half 
are at work outside of the city. 

Of the Vaux school there were, 1877-89, 76 graduates. 
Of these there are 16 unaccounted for ; the rest are : 



Teachers 27 

Musicians 5 

Merchants 3 



Clerks . . , 


. . . . 4 







9 Kindly furnished by the principals of these schools. 



Sect. 47.] Color Prejudice. 353 

Mechanic 1 Deceased 8 

Clergymen 3 Housewives 5 

47 

From one-half to two-thirds of these have been compelled 
to leave the city in order to find work ; one, the artist, 
Tanner, whom France recently honored, could, not in his 
native land much less in his native city find room for his 
talents. He taught school in Georgia in order to earn 
money enough to go abroad. 

The Institute of Colored Youth has had 340 graduates, 
1856-97 ; 57 of these are dead. Of the 283 remaining 91 
are unaccounted for. The rest are : 

Teachers 117 Electrical Engineer . . 1 

Lawyers 4 Professor 1 

Physicians 4 Government clerks ... 5 

Musicians 4 Merchants 7 

Dentists 2 Mechanics 5 

Clergymen 2 Clerks 23 

Nurses 2 Teacher of cooking . . 1 

Editor 1 Dressmakers 4 

Civil Engineer 1 Students 7 

192 

Here, again, nearly three-fourths of the graduates who 
have amounted to anything have had to leave the city for 
work. The civil engineer, for instance, tried in vain to 
get work here and finally had to go to New Jersey to teach. 

There have been 9, possibly 11, colored graduates of the 
Central High School. These are engaged as follows : 

Grocer 1 Porter 1 

Clerks in service of city . 2 Butler 1 

Caterer 1 Unknown 3 or 5 

It is high time that the best conscience of Philadelphia 
awakened to her duty ; her Negro citizens are here to 
remain ; they can be made good citizens or burdens to the 
community ; if we want them to be sources of wealth and 
power and not of poverty and weakness then they must be 
23 



354 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

given employment according to their ability and encour- 
aged to train that ability and increase their talents by the 
hope of reasonable reward. To educate boys and girls and 
then refuse them work is to train loafers and rogues. 10 

From another point of view it could be argued with 
much cogency that the cause of economic stress, and conse- 
quently of crime, was the recent inconsiderate rush of 
Negroes into cities ; and that the unpleasant results of this 
migration, while deplorable, will nevertheless serve to 
check the movement of Negroes to cities and keep them in 
the country where their chance for economic development is 
widest. This argument loses much of its point from the 
fact that it is the better class of educated Philadelphia- 
born Negroes who have the most difficulty in obtaining 
employment. The new immigrant fresh from the South is 
much more apt to obtain work suitable for him than the 
black boy born here and trained in efficiency. Neverthe- 
less it is undoubtedly true that the recent migration has 
both directly and indirectly increased crime and competi- 
tion. How is this movement to be checked ? Much can 
be done by correcting misrepresentations as to the oppor- 
tunities of city life made by designing employment 
bureaus and thoughtless persons ; a more strict surveillance 
of criminals might prevent the influx of undesirable 
elements. Such efforts, however, would not touch the 
main stream of immigration. Back of that stream is the 
world-wide desire to rise in the world, to escape the 
choking narrowness of the plantation, and the lawless 
repression of the village, in the South. It is a search for 
better opportunities of living, and as such it must be dis- 
couraged and repressed with great care and delicacy, if at 
all. The real movement of reform is the raising of 
economic standards and increase of economic opportunity 
in the South. Mere land and climate without law and 



10 Cf. on this point the interesting article of John Stevens Durham in 
the Atlantic Monthly, 1898. 



Sect. 48.] Benevolence. 355 

order, capital and skill, will not develop a country. When 
Negroes in the South have a larger opportunity to work, 
accumulate property, be protected in life and limb, and 
encourage pride and self-respect in their children, there 
will be a diminution in the stream of immigrants to 
Northern cities. At the same time if those cities practice 
industrial exclusion against these immigrants to such an 
extent that they are forced to become paupers, loafers and 
criminals, they can scarcely complain of conditions in the 
South. Northern cities should not, of course, seek to 
encourage and invite a' poor quality of labor, with low 
standards of life and morals. The standards of wages and 
respectability should be kept up ; but when a man reaches 
those standards in skill, efficiency and decency no question 
of color should, in a civilized community, debar him from 
an equal chance with his peers in earning a living. 

48. Benevolence. 11 — In the attitude of Philadelphia 
toward the Negro may be traced the same contradictions 
so often apparent in social phenomena ; prejudice and 
apparent dislike conjoined with widespread and deep 
sympathy ; there can, for instance, be no doubt of the 
sincerity of the efforts put forth by Philadelphians to help 
the Negroes. Much of it is unsystematic and ill-directed 
and yet it has behind it a broad charity and a desire to 
relieve suffering and distress. The same Philadelphian 
who would not let a Negro work in his store or mill, will 
contribute handsomely to relieve Negroes in poverty and 
distress. There are in the city the following charities 
exclusively designed for Negroes : 

Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons, Belmont 
and Girard avenues. 12 



11 No attempt has been made here to make any intensive study of the 
efforts to help Negroes, which are widespread and commendable; they 
need, however, a study which would extend the scope of this inquiry 
too far. 

12 Founded, and supported in part, by Negroes. Cf. Chap. XII. 



356 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

Home for Destitute Colored Children, Berks street and 
Old Lancaster road. 

St. Mary Day Nursery, 1627 Lombard street. 

The Association for the Care of Colored Orphans, Forty - 
fourth and Wallace streets. 

Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital and Training 
School, 15 12 Lombard street. 13 

Magdalen Convent House of the Good Shepherd (Roman 
Catholic), Penn and Chew streets, Germantown. 

St. Mary's Mission for Colored People, 1623-29 Lombard 
street. 

Raspberry Street School, 229 Raspberry street. 

The Star Kitchen, and allied enterprises, Seventh and 
Lombard streets. 

Colored Industrial School, Twentieth street, below 
Walnut. 

Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, for Indians and Colored 
People, Cornwell's Station, Pa. 

Men's Guild House, 1628 Lombard street. 

House of St. Michael and All Angels, 613 North Forty- 
third street. 

The Industrial Exchange Training School and Dormi- 
tory, 756 South Twelfth street. 13 

Fifty-nine of the charities mentioned in the Civic Club 
Digest discriminate against colored persons. Fifty-one 
societies profess to make no discrimination ; in the case of 
the larger and better known societies this is true, as, for 
instance, the Home Missionary Society, the Union Benevo- 
lent Association, the Protestant Episcopal City Mission, 
the Charity Organization Society, the Children's Aid 
Society, the Society to Prevent Cruelty to Children, etc. 
Others, however, exercise a silent policy against Negroes. 
The Country Week Association, for instance, would rather 
Negroes should not apply, although it sends a few away 



13 Founded, and supported in part, by Negroes. Cf. Chap. XII. 



Sect. 48.] Benevolence. 357 

each summer. Colored applicants at the building of the 
Young Woman's Christian Association are not very 
welcome. So with many other societies and institutions. 
This veiled discrimination is very unjust, for it makes it 
seem as though the Negro had more help than he does. 
On the other hand between donors, prejudiced persons, 
friends of the Negro, and the beneficiaries, the managers of 
many of these enterprises find it by far the easiest method 
silently to draw the color line. 

Fifty-seven other charities make no explicit statement as 
to whether they discriminate or not. To sum up then : 

Charitable agencies exclusively for Negroes 14 

14 Whites 59 

44 which profess not to discriminate, 

but in some cases do 51 

44 which make no statements, but usu- 
ally discriminate 57 

181 

On the whole it is fair to say that about one half of 
the charities of Philadelphia, so far as mere numbers 
are concerned, are open to Negroes. In the different 
kinds of charity, however, some disproportion is notice- 
able. Of direct almsgiving, the most questionable and 
least organized sort of charity, the Negroes receive 
probably far more than their just proportion, as a study 
of the work of the great distributing societies clearly 
shows. On the other hand, protective, rescue and reforma- 
tory w T ork is not applied to any great extent among them. 
Consequently, while actual poverty and distress among 
Negroes is quickly relieved, there are only a few agencies 
to prevent the better classes from sinking or to reclaim 
the fallen or to protect the helpless and the children. 
Even the agencies of this sort open to the Negroes are not 
always taken advantage of, partly through ignorance and 
carelessness, partly because they fear discrimination or be- 
cause they are apt to be treated the same whether they be 
from Addison street or Middle allev. 



358 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

Much of the benevolence of the whites has been checked 
because the classes on whom it has been showered have 
not appreciated it, and because there has been no careful 
attempt to discriminate between different sorts of Negroes. 
After all, the need of the Negro, as of so many unfortunate 
classes, is " not alms but a friend. " 

There are a few homes, asylums, nurseries, hospitals and 
the like for work among Negroes, which are doing excel- 
lent work and deserve commendation. It is to be hoped 
that this sort of work will receive needed encouragement. 

49. The Intermarriage of the Races. — For years much 
has been said on the destiny of the Negro with regard to 
intermarriage with the whites. To many this seems the 
difficulty that differentiates the Negro question from all 
other social questions which we face, and makes it seem- 
ingly insoluble ; the questions of ignorance, crime and 
immorality, these argue, may safely be left to the influence 
of time and education ; but will time and training ever 
change the obvious fact that the white people of the 
country do not wish to mingle socially with the Negroes 
or to join blood in legal wedlock with them? This prob- 
lem is, it must be acknowledged, difficult. Its difficulty 
arises, however, rather from an ignorance of surrounding 
facts than from the theoretic argument. Theory in such 
case is of little value ; the white people as members of the 
races now dominant in the world naturally boast of their 
blood and accomplishments, and recoil from an alliance 
with a people which is to-day represented by a host of 
untrained and uncouth ex-slaves. On the other hand, 
whatever his practice be, the Negro as a free x\merican 
citizen must just as strenuously maintain that marriage is 
a private contract, and that given two persons of proper 
age and economic ability who agree to enter into that 
relation, it does not concern any one but themselves as to 
whether one of them be white, black or red. It is thus 
that theoretical argument comes to an unpleasant stand- 



Sect. 49-] The Intermarriage of the Races. 359 

still, and its further pursuit really settles nothing, nay, 
rather unsettles much, by bringing men's thoughts to a 
question that is, at present at least, of little practical impor- 
tance. For in practice the matter works itself out : the 
average white person does not marry a Negro ; and the 
average Negro, despite his theory, himself marries one of 
his race, and frowns darkly on his fellows unless they do 
likewise. In those very circles of Negroes who have a 
large infusion of white blood, where the freedom of mar- 
riage is most strenuously advocated, white wives have 
always been treated with a disdain bordering on insult, 
and white husbands never received on any terms of social 
recognition. 

Notwithstanding theory and the practice of whites and 
Negroes in general, it is nevertheless manifest that the 
white and black races have mingled their blood in this 
country to a vast extent. Such facts puzzle the foreigner 
and are destined to puzzle the future historian. A serious 
student of the subject gravely declares in one chapter that 
the races are separate and distinct and becoming more so, 
and in another that by reason of the intermingling of 
white blood the " original type of the African has almost 
completely disappeared ; " u here we have reflected the 
prevailing confusion in the popular mind. Race amalga- 
mation is a fact, not a theory ; it took place, however, 
largely under the institution of slavery and for the most 
part, though not wholly, outside the bonds of legal 
marriage. With the abolition of slavery now, and the 
establishment of a self-protecting Negro home the question 
is, what have been the tendencies and the actual facts with 
regard to the intermarriage of races? This is the only 
question with which students have to do, and this singu- 
larly enough has been the one which they, with curious 
unanimity, have neglected. We do not know the facts 



14 Hoffman's "Race Traits and Tendencies," etc., pp 1 and 177. 



360 The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 

with regard to the mingling of white and black blood in 
the past save in a most general and unsatisfactory way ; 
we do not know the facts for to-day at all. And yet, of 
course, without this knowledge all philosophy of the 
situation is vain ; only long observation of the course of 
intermarriage can furnish us that broad knowledge of facts 
which can serve as a basis for race theories and final con- 
clusions. 15 

The first legal obstacle to the interniarriage of whites 
and blacks in Pennsylvania was the Act of 1726, which 
forbade such unions in terms that would seem to indicate 
that a few such marriages had taken place. Mulattoes early 
appeared in the State, and especially in Philadelphia, some 
being from the South and some from up the State. Sailors 
from this port in some cases brought back English, Scotch 
and Irish wives, and mixed families immigrated here at the 
time of the Haytian revolt. Between 1820 and i860 many 
natural children were sent from the South and in a few 
cases their parents followed and were legally married here. 
Descendants of such children in many cases forsook the 
mother's race ; one became principal of a city school, one 
a prominent sister in a Catholic church, one a bishop, and 
one or two officers in the Confederate army. 16 Some mar- 
riages with Quakers took place, one especially in 1825, 
when a Quakeress married a Negro, created much com- 
ment. Descendants of this couple still survive. Since 
the War the number of local marriages has considerably 
increased. 

In this work there was originally no intention of treating 
the subject of intermarriage, for it was thought that the data 
would be too insignificant to be enlightening. When, 



16 Hoffman has the results of some intermarriages recorded, but they 
are chiefly reports of criminals in the newspapers, and thus manifestly 
unfair for generalization. 

15 From a personal letter of a life-long Philadelphian, whose name I am 
not at liberty to quote. 



Sect. 49.] The Intermarriage of the Races. 



361 



however, in one ward of the city thirty-three cases of 
mixed marriages were found, and it was known that there 
were others in that ward, and probably a similar proportion 
in many other wards, it was thought that a study of these 
thirty-three families might be of interest and be a small 
contribution of fact to a subject where facts are not easily 
accessible. 

The size of these families varies, of course, with the 
question as to what one considers a family ; if we take the 
" census family," or all those living together under circum- 
stances of family life in one home, the average size of the 
thirty-three families of the Seventh Ward in which there 
were intermarried whites was 3.5. If we take simply the 
father, mother and children, the average size was 2.9. 
There were ninety-seven parents and children in these 
families, and twenty other relatives living with them, 
making 117 individuals in the families. Tabulated they 
are as follows : 



Number of 
Persons in the 


Number of Persons in the Census Family. 


Total 

Real 

Families. 

17 
6 
6 

3 
1 


Total Indi- 
viduals in 


Real Family. 


2 


3 


4 


5 


6 


13 


Real 
Family. 


Two .... 

Three . . . 


II 


4 
5 


1 
6 ' 


1 
2 


1 
1 


1 


34 
18 

24 

15 

6 


Five .... 






Six . . 








Total Census 
Families. 


II 


9 


7 


3 


2 


1 


33 


97 


Total Individ- 
uals in Census 
Family. 


22 


27 


28 


15 


12 


13 


117 

Individuals in 
Census Family. 



Of the intermarried whites there are four husbands and 
twenty-nine wives. L,et us first consider the families 
having the four white husbands : 



362 



The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 
Four White Husbands. 





No. 1. 


No. 2. 


No. 3. 


No. 4. 


Age 


48 


52 


31 


32 


Birthplace . . 
No. of years res- 
ident in Phil- 


Philadelphia. 


Georgia. 


Cuba? 


? 


adelphia . . 
Reads and 


48 


7 


? 


12 


Writes? 


Reads. 


Yes. 


Yes. 


Yes. 


Occupation . . 


Street car dri- 
ver, laborer. 


Motorman on 
electric cars. 


Tobacconist. 


Painter. 


No. of Children 










by this Mar- 










riage .... 


4 











Social grade . . 


Third. 


Second. 


Fourth. 


? 



Their Four Negro Wives. 





No. 1. 


No. 2. 


No. 3. 


No. 4. 


Age 


38 


29 


30 


28 


Birthplace . . 


Maryland, 


Georgia. 


? 


Virginia. 


Years resident 










in Philadel- 










phia .... 


25 


7 


? 


11 


Rea ds and ! 








Writes . . . No. 


Reads. 


Yes. 


Yes. 


Occupation . . Housewife and 


Housewife. 


Housewife. 


Cook. 


day's- work. 








Children by this 








Marriage . . 


4 











Social grade . 


Third. 


Second. 


Fourth. 


? 



The third family may be simply a case of cohabitation, 
and not enough is known of the fourth to make any judg- 
ment. The second family lives in a comfortable home and 
appears contented. The first family is poor and the man 
lazy and good-natured. 

The twenty-nine white wives were of the following ages : 



15 to 19 1 

20 to 24 7 

25 to 29 8 

30 to 39 8 



4o to 49 3 

50 and over 1 

Unknown i 



Total 



29 



Sect. 49.] The Intermarriage of the Races. 363 

They were born as follows : 

Philadelphia 6 Hungary r 

Ireland 6 Virginia 1 

England 3 Maryland 1 

Scotland 2 Delaware 1 

New York 2 Unknown 3 

Germany 2 . — 

Canada 1 Total 29 

By rearranging this table we have for the known cases : 

Born in Philadelphia 6 

the United States . . . 11 

" North . .' 8 

" South 3 

foreign lands 15 

Those not born in Philadelphia have resided there as 
follows : 

Less than 1 year I 

One to three years I 

Five to ten years 3 

Over ten years 8 

Unknown 10 



23 
Born in Philadelphia 6 



2 9 

These wives are occupied as follows : 

Housewives 18 

" and day's- work 3 

Waitresses 2 

No occupation or unknown 3 

Cook 1 

Merchant 1 

Service 1 



29 



Only one of these women was reported as illiterate, and 
in the case of three no return was made as to illiteracy. 

Fourteen of these wives had no children by this mar- 
riage ; 6 had 1 child, 6 had 2 children, 3 had 3 children ; 



3^4 



The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 



making 27 children in all. Of the 14 having no children 
5 were women under twenty-five recently married ; 2 were 
women over forty and probably past child-bearing. Several 
of the remaining 7 were, in all probability, lewd. 

Of the colored husbands of these white wives we have 
the following statistics : 



Age — 20 to 24 2 

25 to 29 5 

30 to 39 12 

40 to 49 7 

Birthplace — Philadelphia ... 5 

Maryland .... 5 

Virginia 5 

District of Columbia 3 

Delaware 2 

Kentucky .... 1 

New Jersey .... 1 

Texas 1 



50 and over 1 

Unknown 2 



Total 



North Carolina 
Massachusetts 
Alabama . . . 
New York . . 
Unknown . . 



29 

1 
1 
1 
1 
2 



Total 29 



Born in Philadelphia 5 

" " North 8 

11 " South 19 

Illiteracy — Can read and write 23 

Illiterate 4 

Unknown 2 



Total 29 



Occupations — 

Waiter 

Porter 

Barber 

Steward 

Cook 

Restaurant Keeper . 
Helper and Engineer 



Baker and Merchant 
Stationary Engineer 

Laborer 

Stevedore 

Caterer 

Messenger .... 
Bootblack .... 
Unknown .... 



Total 29 



The social grade of thirty-two of these families is thought 
to^be as follows : 

m 

First grade, four families. These all live well and are 



Sect. 49-] The Intermarriage of the Races. 



365 



comfortable ; the wife stays at home and the children 
at school. Everything indicates comfort and content- 
ment. 

Second grade, fifteen families. These are ordinary work- 
ing-class families ; the wife in some cases helps as a bread 
winner ; none of them are in poverty, many are yonng 
couples just starting in married life. All are decent and 
respectable. 

Third grade, six families. These are poor families of 
low grade, but not immoral; some are lazy, some unfor- 
tunate. 

Fourth grade, seven families. Many of these are cases 
of permanent cohabitation and the women for the most 
part are or were prostitutes. They live in the slums mostly, 
and in some cases have lived together many years. None 
of them have children, or at least have none living with 
them at present 

L,et us now glance a moment at the 31 children of 
these mixed marriages : 27 born of white mothers by 
Negro husbands, and 4 of Negro mothers by white 
husbands: 



Age. 


Male. 


Female. 


Total. 


Under 1 year , 


O 
2 

4 
3 
3 
2 
2 


3 
3 
3 
5 

1 


3 
5 

7 
8 

4 
2 
2 




3-5 






16 


15 


3i 


Number over 10 who are 


illiterate . . 




• 14 
. 12 



At work, 1, as porter. 

The homes occupied by these families and the rents 
paid monthly are : 



366 



The Contact of the Races. [Chap. XVI. 



Number of Rooms. 



(tenant) 
(lodging) 



i 
I 

2 . . . . 

3 • • • • 

4 . . . • 

5 • ■ . . 
6. . . . 

7 . . • 

8 or more 



Total 



$5 and 
under. 


|6-io. 


$11-15- 


$16-20. 


Over $20. 


2 

3 


2 

5 


4 
4 

2 

3 


I 


2 
2 

3 


5 


7 


13 


I 


7 



Total 
Families. 



33 



One family owns real estate (building lots). 

One family belongs to a building and loan association. 

The data here presented constitute too narrow a basis for 
many general conclusions even for a single city. Of the 2441 
families in the ward these families represent 1.35 per cent. 
There are two or more other cases in the Seventh Ward 
not catalogued. If this percentage holds good in the 
remaining parts of the city there would be about one 
hundred and fifty such marriages in the city ; there are no 
data on this point. 

It is often said that only the worst Negroes and lowest 
whites intermarry. This is certainly untrue in Philadel- 
phia ; to be sure among the lowest classes there is a large 
number of temporary unions and much cohabitation. In 
the case of the Seventh Ward several of such cases were 
not noticed at all in the above record as they savor more of 
prostitution than of marriage. On the other hand it is an 
error certainly in this ward to regard marriages of this sort 
as confined principally to the lower classes ; on the con- 
trary they take place most frequently in the laboring 
classes, and especially among servants, where there is the 
most contact between the races. Among the best class of 
Negroes and whites such marriages seldom occur although 
one notable case occurred in 1897 in Philadelphia, where 
there could be no question of the good social standing of 
the parties. 



Sect. 49.] The Intermarriage of the Races. 367 

As to the tendencies of the present, and the general 
result of such marriages there are no reliable data. That 
more separations occur in such marriages than in others is 
very probable. It is certainly a strain on affections to 
have to endure not simply the social ostracism of the whites 
but of the blacks also. Undoubtedly this latter acts as a 
more practical deterrent than the first. For, while a 
Negro expects to be ostracized by the whites, and his 
white wife agrees to it by her marriage vow, neither of 
them are quite prepared for the cold reception they invari- 
ably meet with among the Negroes. This is the con- 
sideration that makes the sacrifice in such marriages 
great, and makes it perfectly proper to give the aphoristic 
marriage advice of Punch to those contemplating such 
alliances. Nevertheless one must candidly acknowledge 
that there are respectable people who are thus married and 
are apparently contented and as happy as the average of 
mankind. It is difficult to see whose concern their choice 
is but their own, or why the world should see fit to insult 
or slander them. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

NEGRO SUFFRAGE. 

50. The Significance of the Experiment. — The indis- 
criminate granting of universal suffrage to freedmen and 
foreigners was one of the most daring experiments of a too 
venturesome nation. In the case of the Negro its only 
justification was that the ballot might serve as a weapon of 
defence for helpless ex-slaves, and would at one stroke 
enfranchise those Negroes whose education and standing 
entitled them to a voice in the government. There can be 
no doubt but that the wisest provision would have been an 
educational and property qualification impartially enforced 
against ex-slaves and immigrants. In the absence of such 
a provision it was certainly more just to admit the 
untrained and ignorant than to bar out all Negroes in spite 
of their qualifications ; more just, but also more dangerous. 

Those who from time to time have discussed the results 
of this experiment have usually looked for their facts in 
the wrong place, i. e., in the South. Under the peculiar 
conditions still prevailing in the South no fair trial of the 
Negro voter could have been made. The " carpet-bag " 
governments of reconstruction time were in no true sense 
the creatures of Negro voters, nor is there to-day a Southern 
State where free untrammeled Negro suffrage prevails. It 
is then to Northern communities that one must turn to 
study the Negro as a voter, and the result of the experi- 
ment in Pennsylvania while not decisive is certainly 
instructive. 

51. The History of Negro Suffrage in Pennsylvania. — 
The laws for Pennsylvania agreed upon in England in 
1682 declared as qualified electors " every inhabitant in the 
said province, that is or shall be a purchaser of one 

(368) 



Sect. 51.] Negro Siiffrage in Pennsylvania. 369 

hundred acres of land or upwards, .... and every person 
that hath been a servant or bondsman, and is free by his 
service, that shall have taken up his fifty acres of land, 
and cultivated twenty thereof;" and also some other 
taxpayers. 1 

These provisions were in keeping with the design of 
partially freeing Negroes after fourteen years service and 
contemplated without doubt black electors, at least in 
theory. It is doubtful if many Negroes voted under this 
provision although that is possible. In the call for the 
Convention of 1776 no restriction as to color was men- 
tioned, 2 and the constitution of that year gave the right 
of suffrage to " every freeman of the full age of twenty-one 
years, having resided in this State for the space of one 
whole year." 3 Probably some Negro electors in Penn- 
sylvania helped choose the framers of the Constitu- 
tion. 

In the Convention of 1790 no restriction as to color was 
adopted and the suffrage article as finally decided upon 
read as follows : 

"Article III, Section 1. In elections by the citizens, 
every freeman of the age of twenty-one years, having 
resided in the State two years next before the election, and 
within that time paid a State or county tax, which shall 
have been assessed at least six months before the election, 
shall enjoy the rights of an elector." 4 

Nothing in the printed minutes of the convention indi- 
cates any attempt in the convention to prohibit Negro 
suffrage, but Mr. Albert Gallatin declared in 1837: "I 
have a lively recollection that in some stages of the discus- 
sion the proposition pending before the convention limited 



1 •' Minutes of the Conventions of 1776 and 1790," (Ed. 1825) pp. 32-33; 
Cf. p. 26. 

2 Ibid., pp. 38-39- 

3 Ibid., p. 57. 

4 Ibid., p. 300. Cf. "Purdon's Digest," sixth edition. 

24 



370 Negro Suffrage. [Chap. XVII. 

the right of suffrage to ' free white citizens,' etc., and that 
the word white was struck out on my motion." 5 

It was alleged afterward that in 1795 the question came 
before the High Court of Errors and Appeals and that its 
decision denied the right to Negroes. No written decision 
of this sort was ever found, however, and it is certain that 
for nearly a half century free Negroes voted in parts of 
Pennsylvania. 6 

As the Negro population increased, however, and ignor- 
ant and dangerous elements entered, and as the slavery 
controversy grew warmer, the feeling against Negroes 
increased and with it opposition to their right to vote. In 
July, 1837, the Supreme Court sitting at Sunbury took up 
the celebrated case of Hobbs et al. against Fogg. Fogg 
was a free Negro and taxpayer, and had been denied the 
right to vote by Hobbs and others, the judges and inspec- 
tors of election in Luzerne County. He brought action and 
was sustained in the Court of Common Pleas, but the 
Supreme Court under Judge Gibson reversed this judgment. 
The decision rendered was an evident straining of law and 
sense. The judge sought to refer to the decision of 1795, 
but could cite no written record ; he explained the striking 
out of the word " white " in the constitutional convention 
as done to prevent insult to " dark colored white men," 
and held that a Negro, though free, could never be a 
freeman. 7 

All doubt was finally removed by the reform constitu- 
tional convention of 1837-38. The article on suffrage 
as reported to the convention May 17, 1837, was practi- 
cally the same as in the Constitution of 1790. 8 This 



5 " Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of 1837," X, 45. Cf. 
Purvis in "Appeal of 40,000 Citizens." The printed minutes give only 
the main results with few details. 

6 6 Watts, 553-560, "Pennsylvania Reports." "Proceedings, etc., 
Convention 1837-8, II, 476. 

7 6 Watts, 553-60, " Pennsylvania Reports." 

8 "Proceedings and Debates," I, 233. 



Sect. 51.] Negro Suffrage in Pennsylvania. 371 

article was taken up June 19, 1837. There was an 
attempt to amend the report and to restrict the suffrage 
to " free white male " citizens. The attempt was de- 
fended as being in consonance with the regulations of 
other States, and with the real facts in Pennsylvania, 
since ' ( In the county of Philadelphia the colored mau 
could not with safety appear at the polls." 9 The amend- 
ment, however, met opposition and was withdrawn. The 
matter arose again a few days later but was voted down by 
a vote of 61 to 49. 10 

The friends of exclusion now began systematic efforts to 
stir up public opinion. No less than forty-five petitions 
against Negro suffrage were handed in, especially from 
Bucks County, where a Negro had once nearly succeeded 
in being elected to the legislature. Many petitions too 
in favor of retaining the old provisions came in, but it was 
charged that the convention would not print petitions in 
favor of Negro suffrage, and some members did not wish 
even to receive petitions from Negroes. 11 

The discussion of the Third Article recurred January 17, 
1838, and a long argument ensued. Finally the word 
"white" was inserted in the qualifications of voters by a 
vote of 77 to 45. A protracted struggle took place to 
soften this regulation in various ways, but all efforts failed 
and the final draft, which was eventually adopted by 
popular vote, had the following provisions : 12 

"Article III, Section 1. In elections by the citizens, 
every white freeman of the age of twenty-one years, having 
resided in this State one year, and in the electoral district 
where he offers to vote ten days immediately preceding 
such election, and within two years paid a State or county 
tax, which shall have been assessed at least ten days 



9 " Proceedings and Debates," II, 478. 

10 Ibid., Ill, 82-92. 

11 Ibid., Volumes IV-IX. 

12 Ibid., IX, 320-397, X, 1-134. 



372 Negro Suffrage. [Chap. XVII. 

before the election, shall enjoy the rights of an elector." 1S 
This disfranchisement lasted thirty-two years, until the 
passage of the Fifteenth Amendment. The Constitution 
of 1874 formally adopted this change. 14 Since 1870 the 
experiment of untrammeled Negro suffrage has been made 
throughout the State. 

52. City Politics. — About 5500 Negroes were eligible 
to vote in the city of Philadelphia, in 1870. The question 
first arises, Into what sort of a political atmosphere were 
they introduced, and what training did they receive for 
their new responsibilities ? 

Few large cities have such a disreputable record for mis- 
government as Philadelphia. In the period before the 
war the city was ruled by the Democratic party, which 
retained its power by the manipulation of a mass of 
ignorant and turbulent foreign voters, chiefly Irish. Riots, 
disorder, and crime were the rule in the city proper and 
especially in the surrounding districts. About the time of 
the breaking out of the war, the city was consolidated and 
made coterminous with the county. The social up- 
heaval after the civil war gave the political power to the 
Republicans and a new era of misrule coinmenced. Open 
disorder and crime were repressed, but in its place came 
the rule of the boss, with its quiet manipulation and cal- 
culating embezzlement of public funds. To-day the gov- 
ernment of both city and State is unparalleled in the 
history of republican government for brazen dishonesty 
and bare-faced defiance of public opinion. The supporters 
of this government have been, by a vast majority, white 
men and native Americans ; the Negro vote has never 
exceeded 4 per cent of the total registration. 



13 " Purdon," sixth edition. 

14 The Constitution of 1874 gave the right of suffrage to " Every male 

citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one years " 

— Debates, etc., I, 503, etc. See Index "Constitution of Pennsylvania," 
Article VIII; and also the Act of 6 April, 1870. 



Sect. 53.] Some Bad Results of Negro Suffrage. 373 

Manifestly such a political atmosphere was the worst 
possible for the new untutored voter. Starting himself 
without political ideals, he was put under the tutelage of 
unscrupulous and dishonest men whose ideal of government 
was to prostitute it to their own private ends. As the 
Irishman had been the tool of the Democrats, so the 
Negro became the tool of the Republicans. It was natural 
that the freedman should vote for the party that emanci- 
pated him, and perhaps, too, it was natural that a party 
with so sure a following, should use it unscrupulously. 
The result to be expected from such a situation was that 
the Negro should learn from his surroundings a low ideal 
of political morality and no conception of the real end of 
party loyalty. At the same time we ought to expect indi- 
vidual exceptions to this general level, and some evidences 
of growth. 

53. Some Bad Results of Negro Suffrage. — The experi- 
ment of Negro suffrage in Philadelphia has developed 
three classes of Negro voters : a large majority of voters 
who vote blindly at the dictates of the party and, while 
not open to direct bribery, accept the indirect emoluments 
of office or influence in return for party loyalty ; a consid- 
erable group, centering in the slum districts, which casts a 
corrupt purchasable vote for the highest bidder ; lastly, a 
very small group of independent voters who seek to use 
their vote to better present conditions of municipal life. 

The political morality of the first group of voters, that 
is to say, of the great mass of Negro voters, corresponds 
roughly to that of the mass of white voters, but with this 
difference : the ignorance of the Negro in matters of gov- 
ernment is greater and his devotion to party blinder and 
more unreasoning. Add to this the mass of recent immi- 
grants from the South, with the political training of re- 
construction and post-bellum days, and one can easily see 
how poorly trained this body of electors has been. 

Under such circumstances it is but natural that political 



374 Negro Suffrage. [Chap. XVII. 

morality and knowledge should be even slower in spread- 
ing among Negroes than wealth and general intelligence. 
One consequently finds among those of considerable intelli- 
gence and of upright lives such curious misapprehension 
of political duties as is illustrated by the address of the 
Afro-American L,eague to the mayor of the city, February 
8,1897: 

"Mr. Mayor: — We desire first and foremost, to tender you our pro- 
found thanks for the honor of this cordial reception. We regard it, sir, 
as proof of the recognition on your part of that just and most admirable 
custom of our country's government, which permits the subjects, however 
humble may be their condition in life, to see their ruler as well as feel 
the workings of his power. 

"We are here to state to your excellency that the colored citizens of 
Philadelphia are penetrated with feelings of inexpressible grief at the 
manner in which they have thus far been overlooked and ignored by the 
Republican party in this city, in giving out work and otherwise distribu- 
ting the enormous patronage in the gift of the party. We are therefore 
here, sir, to earnestly beseech of you as a faithful Republican and our 
worthy chief executive, to use your potent influence as well as the good 
offices of your municipal government, if not inconsistent with the public 
weal, to procure for the colored people of this city a share at least, of the 
public work and the recognition which they now ask for and feel to be 
justly due to them, no less as citizens and taxpayers, than on a basis of 
their voting strength of something over 14,000 in the Republican party 
here in Philadelphia. 

"As the chosen organ of this body of men I am actuated by a due sense 
of their earnestness of purpose in this matter and I regret to be inade- 
quate to the task of convincing you, Mr. Mayor, of the deep interest 
which is being universally manifested by the colored element in Philadel- 
phia in this somewhat important question. The colored people neither 
ask for nor expect extremes; we only claim that our loyal fidelity to the 
Republican party should count, at some time, for some benefits to at least 
a reasonable number of the colored race when our friends are installed 
into place and power; and, cherishing as we do, sir, the most implicit 
confidence in your justice as the chief executive of this great city, we 
firmly believe that this most unfair treatment of which our people now 
complain, would not fail, when brought thus to your attention, in moving 
you in our humble behalf. We, therefore, have here to present for your 
candid consideration a paper containing the names of some worthy and 
reliable men of our race and they are respectfully urged for appointment 
as indicated on the face of that paper, and out of a desire, Mr. Mayor, to 
facilitate your efforts should you take favorable action upon this matter, 
these men, as we will state, have been selected as near as possible from 



Sect. 53.] Some Bad Results of Negro Suffrage. 375 

every section of the city, as well as upon the proof of their fitness for the 
places named." 

The organization which here speaks is not large or 
nearly as representative as it claims to be ; it is simply a 
small faction of " outs " who are striving to get "in." The 
significant thing about the address is the fact that a con- 
siderable number of fairly respectable and ordinarily 
intelligent citizens should think this a perfectly legitimate 
and laudable demand. This represents the political 
morality of the great mass of ordinary Negro voters. And 
what more does it arguethan that they have learned their 
lesson well and recited it bluntly but honestly? What 
more do the majority of American politicians and voters 
to-day say in action if not in word than : " Here is my 
vote, now where is my pay in office or favor or influence ?" 
What thousands are acting, this delegation had the charm- 
ing simplicity to say plainly and then to print. 

Moreover one circumstance makes this attitude of mind 
more dangerous among Negroes than among whites ; 
Negroes as a class are poor and as laborers are restricted to 
few and unremunerative occupations ; consequently the 
bribe of office is to them a far larger and alluring tempta- 
tion than to the mass of whites. In other words here are 
a people more ignorant than their fellows, with stronger 
tendencies to dishonesty and crime, who are offered a far 
larger bribe than ordinary men to enter politics for personal 
gain. The result is obvious : " Of course I'm in politics," 
said a Negro city watchman, " it's the only way a colored 
man can get a position where he can earn a decent living." 
He was a fireman by trade, but Philadelphia engineers 
object to working with " Niggers." 

If this is the result in the case of an honest man, how 
great is the temptation to the vicious and lazy. This 
brings us to the second class of voters — the corrupt class, 
which sells its votes more or less openly. 

The able-bodied, well-dressed loafers and criminals who 



376 Negro Suffrage. [Chap. XVII. 

infest the sidewalks of parts of the Fifth, Seventh and 
other wards are supported partly by crime and gambling, 
partly by the prostitution of their female paramours, but 
mainly from the vast corruption fund gathered from office- 
holders and others, and distributed according to the will of 
the party Boss. The Public Ledger said in 1896 : 

" It is estimated that the Republican City Committee realized nearly if 
not all of $100,000 from the 1% per cent assessment levied upon municipal 
officeholders for this campaign. Of this sum $40,000 has been paid for 
the eighty thousand tax receipts to qualify Republican voters. This leaves 
$60,000 at the disposal of David Martin, the Combine leader." 15 

How is this corruption fund used? Without doubt a 
large part of it is spent in the purchase of votes. It is of 
course difficult to estimate the directly purchasable vote 
among the whites or among the Negroes. Once in a while 
when " thieves fall out" some idea of the bribery may 
be obtained ; for instance in a hearing relative to a Third 
Ward election : 

William Reed, of Catharine street, below Thirteenth, was first on the 
stand. He was watcher in the Fifteenth Division on election day. 

" Did you make up any election papers for voters?" asked Mr. Ingham. 

" I marked up about seventy or eighty ballots; I got $20 off of Roberts' 
brother, and used $100 altogether, paying the rest out of my own pocket. ' ' 

" How did you spend the money?" 

11 Oh, well, there were some few objectionable characters there to make 
trouble. We'd give 'em a few dollars to go away and attend to their 
business." Then he addressed Mr. Ingham directly, "You know how it 
works." 

"I'd give 'em a dollar to buy a cigar. And if they didn't want to pay 
$1 for a cigar, why, they could put it in the contribution box at church." 

" Was this election conducted in the usual way?" inquired Mr. Sterr. 

" Oh, yes, the way they're conducted in the Third Ward — with vote 
buying, and all the rest of it." 

" Did the other side have any money to spend?" 

" Saunders had $16 to the division." 

1 ' What did your side have ?' ' 

" Oh, we had about $60 ; there was money to burn. But our money 
went to three people. The other fellows saved theirs. I spent mine — 
like a sucker. ' ' 



15 October 5, 1896. 



Sect. 53.] Some Bad Results of Negro Suffrage. 377 

James Brown, a McKinley-Citizen worker, began his testimony indig- 
nantly. 

" Election? Why Reed and Morrow, the judges of the election, run 
the whole shootin' match," he declared. " It was all a farce. I brought 
voters up ; and Reed would take 'em away from me. When we chal- 
lenged anybody, Reed and the others would have vouchers ready." 

" Did they use money ?" 

"There was a good deal of money through the division. - We wasn't 
even allowed to mark ballots for our own people who asked for help. 
The judge would ask 'em if they could read and write. When they said 
* yes,' he'd tell 'em they were able to mark their own ballot. There were 
even some people who wanted to mark their own ballots. Reed would 
simply grab 'em and mark their ballots, whether they liked it or not." 

Lavinia Brown, colored, of the rear of 1306 Kater street, said that Mr. 
Bradford was judge on election day, of the Sixteenth Division, and that 
on the morning of the election she cooked his breakfast. She said that 
I. Newton Roberts came to the house, and in her presence gave Bradford 
a roll of notes, at the same time throwing her $2, but she did not know 
for what purpose he gave it. 

George W. Green, colored, of 1224 Catharine street, said he was a 
watcher at the polls of the Sixteenth Division. He told of fraud and 
how the voters were treated. 

" Were you offered any money ?" 

"Yes, sir. Lincoln Roberts came over to me and shoved $50 at me, 
but I turned him down and would not take it, because I didn't belong to 
that crowd." Continuing, he said: "Seven or eight men were chal- 
lenged, but it did not amount to anything, because Lincoln Roberts 
would tell the police to eject them. He also vouched for men who did 
not live in the ward. This condition of affairs continued all day." 

Several other witnesses followed, whose testimony was similar to 
Green's, and who declared that money was distributed freely by the 
Roberts faction to buy over voters. They said that challenges were dis- 
regarded, and that the election was a farce. Voters were kept out, and 
when it was known that any of Saunders' adherents were coming a rush 
would be made, making it impossible for that side to enter the booth. 

Philip Brown, a McKinley-Citizen watcher, said that the election was 
a fraud. He saw Mr. Roberts with a pile of money, going around shout- 
ing, " That's the stuff that wins !" When asked what the judge was doing 
all this time he said: 

" Why, the judge belonged to Mr. Roberts, who had full control of the 
polling place all day." 

William Hare, of 1346 Xater street, proved an interesting witness. His 
story is as follows : 

" Mr. Lincoln Roberts brought my tax receipt and told me to come 
around to the club. I went and was given a bundle of tax receipts, 



378 Negro Suffrage. [Chap. XVII. 

marked for other men, and told to deliver them. The next day being 
election day I made it a point to watch, and saw that every man to whom 
I gave a receipt came to the polls and voted for Mr. Roberts. I saw Mr. 
Newton Roberts mark the ballots over six times myself." 

Many of the men mentioned here are white, and this 
happened in a ward where there are more white than Ne- 
gro voters, but the same open bribery goes on at every 
election in the slum districts of the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh 
and Eighth Wards, where a large Negro vote is cast. In a 
meeting of Negroes held in 1896 one politician calmly 
announced that " through money from my white friends I 
control the colored vote in my precinct." Another man 
arose and denounced the speaker pretty plainly as a trick- 
ster although his allegation was not denied. This brought 
on general discussion in which there were uncontradicted 
statements that in certain sections votes were bought for 
" fifty cents and a drink of whisky " and men " driven in 
droves to the polls." There was some exaggeration here 
and yet without doubt many Negroes sell their votes 
directly for a money consideration. This sort of thing is 
confined to the lowest classes, but there it is widespread. 
Such bribery, however, is the least harmful kind because 
it is so direct and shameless that only men of no character 
would accept it. 

Next to this direct purchase of votes, one of the chief 
and most pernicious forms of bribery among the lowest 
classes is through the establishment of political clubs> 
which abound in the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh and Eighth 
Wards, and are not uncommon elsewhere. A political club 
is a band of eight or twelve men who rent a club house 
with money furnished them by the boss, and support them- 
selves partially in the same way. The club is often named 
after some politician — one of the most notorious gambling 
hells of the Seventh Ward is named after a United States 
Senator — and the business of the club is to see that its 
precinct is carried for the proper candidate, to get "jobs" 
for some of its " boys," to keep others from arrest and to 



Sect. 53.] Some Bad Results of Negro Suffrage. 379 

secure bail and discharge for those arrested. Such clubs 
become the centre of gambling, drunkenness, prostitution 
and crime. Every night there are no less than fifteen of 
these clubs in the Seventh Ward where open gambling goes 
on, to which almost any one can gain admittance if properly 
introduced ; nearly every day some redhanded criminal 
finds refuge here from the law. Prostitutes are in easy 
reach of these places and sometimes enter them. lyiquor 
is furnished to "members " at all times and the restrictions 
on membership are slight. The leader of each club is boss 
of his district ; he knows the people, knows the ward boss, 
knows the police ; so long as the loafers and gamblers 
under him do not arouse the public too much he sees that 
they are not molested. If they are arrested it does not 
mean much save in grave cases. Men openly boast on the 
streets that they can get bail for any amount. And cer- 
tainly they appear to have powerful friends at the Public 
Buildings. There is of course a difference in the various 
clubs ; some are of higher class than others and receive 
offices as bribes ; others are openly devoted to gambling 
and receive protection as a bribe ; one of the most notorious 
gambling houses of the Seventh Ward was recently raided, 
and although every school boy knows the character of the 
proprietor he was released for " lack of evidence." Still 
other clubs are simply winter quarters for thieves, loafers 
and criminals well known to the police. There are of 
course one or two clubs, mainly social and only partially 
political, to which the foregoing statements do not apply 
— as for instance the Citizens' Club on Broad street, which 
has the best Negroes of the city in its membership, allows 
no gambling and pays its own expenses. This club, 
however, stands almost alone and the other twelve or 
fifteen political clubs of the Seventh Ward represent a 
form of political corruption which is a disgrace to a 
civilized city. In the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Wards 
there are ten or twelve more clubs, and probably in the 



380 Negro Suffrage. [Chap. XVII. 

whole city the Negroes have forty such places with a 
possible membership of five or six hundred. The influence 
of these clubs on the young immigrants, on growing boys, 
on the surrounding working people is most deplorable. At 
the polls they carry the day with high-handed and often 
riotous proceedings, voting " repeaters " and " colonists " 
often with impunity. 

Among the great mass of Negro voters, whose votes 
cannot be directly purchased, a less direct but, in the long 
run, more demoralizing bribery is common. It is the same 
sort of bribery as that which is to-day corrupting the white 
voters of the land, viz : 

(a) Contributions to various objects in which voters are 
interested. 

(b) Appointment to public office or to work of any kind 
for the city. 

Men accept from political organizations, contributions to 
charitable and other objects which they would not think of 
accepting for themselves. Others less scrupulous get con- 
tributions or favors for enterprises in which they are 
directly interested. Fairs, societies, clubs and even 
churches have profited by this sort of political corruption, 
and the custom is by no means confined to Negroes. 

A better known method of political bribery among the 
mass of Negroes is through apportionment of the public 
work or appointment to public office. The work open to 
Negroes throughout the city is greatly restricted as has 
been pointed out. One class of well-paid positions, the 
city civil-service, was once closed to them, and only one 
road was open to them to secure these positions and that 
was unquestioning obedience to the " machine." The 
emoluments of office are a temptation to most men, but 
how much greater they are for Negroes can only be realized 
on reflection : Here is a well-educated young man, who 
despite all efforts can get no work above that of porter 
at $6 or $8 a week. If he goes into " politics," blindly 



Sect. 53.] Some Bad Results of Negro Suffrage. 381 

votes for the candidate of the party boss, and by hard, 
steady and astute work persuades most of the colored 
voters in his precinct to do the same, he has the chance of 
being rewarded by a city clerkship, the social prestige of 
being in a position above menial labor, and an income of 
$60 or $75 a month. Such is the character of the grasp 
which the " machine " has on even intelligent Negro 
voters. 

How far this sort of bribery goes is illustrated by the 
fact that 170 city employes are from the Fifth Ward and 
probably forty of these are Negroes. The three Negro 
members of the machine in this ward are all office-holders. 
About one-fourth of the fifty-two members of the Seventh 
Ward machine are Negroes, and one-half of these are office- 
holders. The Negro's record as an office-seeker is, it is 
needless to say, far surpassed by his white brother and it is 
only in the last two decades that Negroes have appeared as 
members of councils and clerks. 16 

In spite of the methods employed to secure these offices 
it cannot as yet justly be charged that many of the Negro 
office-holders are unfitted for their duty. There is always 
the possibility however that incompetent Negro officers 
may increase in number; and there can be no doubt but 
that corrupt and dishonest white politicians have been kept 
in power by the influence thus obtained to sway the Negro 
vote of the Seventh and Eighth and other wards. The 
problem of the Negro voter then is one of the many prob- 
lems that baffle all efforts at political reform in Philadelphia : 
the small corrupt vote of the slums which disgraces repub- 
lican government ; the large vote of the masses which 
mistaken political ideals, blind party loyalty and economic 
stress now holds imprisoned and shackled to the service of 
dishonest political leaders. 



16 Cf. "A Woman's Municipal Campaign." Publications of Amer. Acad, 
of Pol. and Soc. Science. 



382 Negro Suffrage. [Chap. XVII. 

54. Some Good Results of Negro Suffrage. — It is 
wrong to suppose that all the results of this hazardous 
experiment in widening the franchise have been evil. 
First the ballot has without doubt been a means of protec- 
tion in the hands of a people peculiarly liable to oppression. 
Its first bestowal gained Negroes admittance to street-cars 
after a struggle of a quarter century ; and frequently since 
private and public oppression has been lightened by the 
knowledge of the power of the black vote. This fact has 
greatly increased the civic patriotism of the Negro, made 
him strive more eagerly to adapt himself to the spirit 
of the city life, and has kept him from becoming a socially 
dangerous class. 

At the same time the Negro has never sought to use his 
ballot to menace civilization or even the established prin- 
ciples of this government. This fact has been noticed by 
many students but it deserves emphasis. Instead of being 
radical light-headed followers of every new political pana- 
cea, the freedmen of Philadelphia and of the nation have 
always formed the most conservative element in our politi- 
cal life and have steadfastly opposed the schemes of infla- 
tionists, socialists and dreamers. Part of this conservatism 
may to be sure be the inertia of ignorance, but even such 
inertia must anchor to some well-defined notions as to what 
the present situation is ; and no element of our political 
life seems better to comprehend the main lines of our 
social organization than the Negro. In Philadelphia he 
has usually been allied with the better elements although 
too often that " better" was far from the best. And never 
has the Negro been to any extent the ally of the worst 
elements. 

In spite of the fact that unworthy officials could easily 
get into office by the political methods pursued by the 
Negroes, the average of those who have obtained office has 
been good. Of the three colored councilmen one has re- 
ceived the endorsement of the Municipal League, while 



Sect. 55-] The Paradox of Reform. 383 

the others seem to be up to the average of the councilmen. 
One Negro has been clerk in the tax office for twenty years 
or more and has an enviable record. The colored police- 
men as a class are declared by their superiors to be capable, 
neat and efficient There are some cases of inefficiency — 
one clerk who used to be drunk most of his time, another 
who devotes his time to work outside his office, and many 
cases of inefficient watchmen and laborers. The average 
of efficiency among colored officeholders however is good 
and much higher than one might naturally expect. 

Finally, the training in citizenship which the exercise of 
the right of suffrage entails has not been lost on the Phila- 
delphia Negro. Any worthy cause of municipal reform 
can secure a respectable Negro vote in the city, showing 
that there is the germ of an intelligent independent vote 
which rises above even the blandishments of decent remu- 
nerative employment. This class is small but seems to be 
growing. 

55. The Paradox of Reform. — The growth of a higher 
political morality among Negroes is to-day hindered by 
their paradoxical position. Suppose the Municipal League 
or the Woman's School-board movement, or some other 
reform is brought before the better class of Negroes to-day; 
they will nearly all agree that city politics are notoriously 
corrupt, that honest women should replace ward heelers on 
school-boards, and the like. But can they vote for such 
movements ? Most of them will say No ; for to do so will 
throw many worthy Negroes out of employment: these 
very reformers who want votes for specific reforms, will not 
themselves work beside Negroes, or admit them to posi- 
tions in their stores or offices, or lend them friendly aid in 
trouble. Moreover Negroes are proud of their councilmen 
and policemen. What if some of these positions of honor 
and respectability have been gained by shady " politics" — 
shall they be nicer in these matters than the mass of the 
whites? Shall they surrender these tangible evidences of 



384 Negro Suffrage. [Chap. XVII. 

the rise of their race to forward the good-hearted but hardly 
imperative demands of a crowd of women? Especially, 
too, of women who did not apparently know there were 
any Negroes on earth until they wanted their votes ? Such 
logic may be faulty, but it is convincing to the mass of 
Negro voters. And cause after cause may gain their re- 
spectful attention and even applause, but when election- 
day comes, the " machine" gets their votes. 

Thus the growth of broader political sentiment is hin- 
dered and will be until some change comes. When indus- 
trial exclusion is so broken down that no class will 
be unduly tempted by the bribe of office ; when the apos- 
tles of civil reform compete within the ward Boss in 
friendliness and kindly consideration for the unfortunate ; 
when the league between gambling and crime and the city 
authorities is less close, then we can expect the more rapid 
development of civic virtue in the Negro and indeed in the 
whole city. As it is to-day the experiment of Negro suf- 
frage with all its glaring shortcomings cannot justly be 
called a failure, but rather in view of all circumstances a 
partial success. Whatever it lacks can justly be charged 
to those Philadelphians who for thirty years have surrend- 
ered their right of political leadership to thieves and trick- 
sters, and allowed such teachers to instruct this untutored 
race in whose hand lay an unfamiliar instrument of civili- 
zation. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

A FINAL WORD. 

56. The Meaning of All This. — Two sorts of answers 
are usually returned to trie bewildered American who asks 
seriously : What is the Negro problem ? The one is 
straightforward and clear : it is simply this, or simply 
that, and one simple remedy long enough applied will in 
time cause it to disappear. The other answer is apt to be 
hopelessly involved and complex — to indicate no simple 
panacea, and to end in a somewhat hopeless — There it is ; 
what can we do ? Both of these sorts of answers have some- 
thing of truth in them : the Negro problem looked at in 
one way is but the old world questions of ignorance, 
poverty, crime, and the dislike of the stranger. On the 
other hand it is a mistake to think that attacking each of 
these questions single-handed without reference to the 
others will settle the matter : a combination of social 
problems is far more than a matter of mere addition, — the 
combination itself is a problem. Nevertheless the Negro 
problems are not more hopelessly complex than many 
others have been. Their elements despite their bewildering 
complication can be kept clearly in view : they are after 
all the same difficulties over which the world has grown 
gray : the question as to how far human intelligence can 
be trusted and trained ; as to whether we must always 
have the poor with us ; as to whether it is possible for the 
mass of men to attain righteousness on earth ; and then to 
this is added that question of questions : after all who are 
Men ? Is every featherless biped to be counted a man and 
brother ? Are all races and types to be joint heirs of the 
25 (385) 



386 A Final Word. [Chap. XVIII. 

new earth that men have striven to raise in thirty centuries 
and more? Shall we not swamp civilization in barbar- 
ism and drown genius in indulgence if we seek a mythical 
Humanity which shall shadow all men ? The answer of 
the early centuries to this puzzle was clear : those of any 
nation who can be called Men and endowed with rights are 
few : they are the privileged classes — the well-born and the 
accidents of low-birth called up by the King. The rest, 
the mass of the nation, the pbbel, the mob, are fit to follow, 
to obey, to dig and delve, but not to think or rule or play 
the gentleman. We who were born to another philosophy 
hardly realize how deep-seated and plausible this view of 
human capabilities and powers once was ; how utterly in- 
comprehensible this republic would have been to Charle- 
magne or Charles V. or Charles I. We rather hasten to 
forget that once the courtiers of English kings looked upon 
the ancestors of most Americans with far greater contempt 
than these Americans look upon Negroes — and perhaps, 
indeed, had more cause. We forget that once French 
peasants were the " Niggers " of France, and that German 
princelings once discussed with doubt the brains and 
humanity of the bauer. 

Much of this — or at least some of it — has passed and the 
world has glided by blood and iron into a wider humanity, 
a wider respect for simple manhood unadorned by ancestors 
or privilege. Not that we have discovered, as some hoped 
and some feared, that all men were created free and equal, 
but rather that the differences in men are not so vast as we 
had assumed. We still yield the well-born the advantages 
of birth, we still see that each nation has its dangerous 
flock of fools and rascals ; but we also find most men have 
brains to be cultivated and souls to be saved. 

And still this widening of the idea of common Human- 
ity is of slow growth and to-day but dimly realized. We 
grant full citizenship in the World- Commonwealth to the 
" Anglo-Saxon " (whatever that may mean), the Teuton 



Sect. 56.] The Meaning of All This. 387 

and the L,atin; then with just a shade of reluctance we 
extend it to the Celt and Slav. We half deny it to the yel- 
low races of Asia, admit the brown Indians to an ante-room 
only on the strength of an undeniable past ; but with the 
Negroes of Africa we come to a full stop, and in its heart 
the civilized world with one accord denies that these come 
within the pale of nineteenth century Humanity. This 
feeling, widespread and deep-seated, is, in America, the 
vastest of the Negro problems ; we have, to be sure, a 
threatening problem of ignorance but the ancestors of most 
Americans were far more ignorant than the freedmen's 
sons ; these ex-slaves are poor but not as poor as the Irish 
peasants used to be ; crime is rampant but not more so, 
if as much, as in Italy ; but the difference is that the 
ancestors of the English and the Irish and the Italians 
were felt to be worth educating, helping and guiding 
because they were men and brothers, while in America la 
census which gives a slight indication of the utter disap- 
pearance of the American Negro from the earth is greeted 
with ill-concealed delight. 

Other centuries looking back upon the culture of the 
nineteenth would have a right to suppose that if, in a land 
of freemen, eight millions of human beings were found to 
be dying of disease, the nation would cry with one voice, 
" Heal them ! " If they were staggering on in ignorance, it 
would cry, "Train them!" If they were harming themselves 
and others by crime, it would cry, " Guide them !" And 
such cries are heard and have been heard in the land ; but 
it was not one voice and its volume has been ever broken 
by counter-cries and echoes, " L,et them die!" " Train them 
like slaves !" " L,et them stagger downward !" 

This is the spirit that enters in and complicates all 
Negro social problems and this is a problem which only 
civilization and humanity can successfully solve. Mean- 
time we have the other problems before us — we have the 
problems arising from the uniting of so many social 



388 A Final Word. [Chap. XVIIL 

questions about one centre. In such a situation we need 
only to avoid underestimating the difficulties on the one 
hand and overestimating them on the other. The prob- 
lems are difficult, extremely difficult, but they are such as 
the world has conquered before and can conquer again. 
Moreover the battle involves more than a mere altruistic 
interest in an alien people. It is a battle for humanity 
and human culture. If in the hey-dey of the greatest of 
the worlds civilizations, it is possible for one people 
ruthlessly to steal another, drag them helpless across the 
water, enslave them, debauch them, and then slowly 
murder them by economic and social exclusion until they 
disappear from the face of the earth — if the consumma- 
tion of such a crime be possible in the twentieth century, 
then our civilization is vain and the republic is a mockery 
and a farce. 

But this will not be ; first, even with the terribly 
adverse circumstances under which Negroes live, there is 
not the slightest likelihood of their dying out ; a nation 
that has endured the slave-trade, slavery, reconstruction, 
and present prejudice three hundred years, and under it 
increased in numbers and efficiency, is not in any immedi- 
ate danger of extinction. Nor is the thought of voluntary 
or involuntary emigration more than a dream of men who 
forget that there are half as many Negroes in the United 
States as Spaniards in Spain. If this be so then a few 
plain propositions may be laid down as axiomatic : 

i. The Negro is here to stay. 

2. It is to the advantage of all, both black and white, 
that every Negro should make the best of himself. 

3. It is the duty of the Negro to raise himself by every 
effort to the standards of modern civilization and not to 
lower those standards in any degree. 

4. It is the duty of the white people to guard their civil- 
ization against debauchment by themselves or others; 
but in order to do this it is not necessary to hinder and 



Sect. 57.] The Duty of the Negroes. 389 

retard the efforts of an earnest people to rise, simply 
because they lack faith in the ability of that people. 

5. With these duties in mind and with a spirit of self- 
help, mutual aid and co-operation, the two races should 
strive side by side to realize the ideals of the republic and 
make this truly a land*of equal opportunity for all men. 

57. The Duty of the Negroes. — That the Negro race 
has an appalling work of social reform before it need hardly 
be said. Simply because the ancestors of the present white 
inhabitants of America went out of their way barbarously 
to mistreat and enslave the ancestors of the present black 
inhabitants, gives those blacks no right to ask that the civil- 
ization and morality of the land be seriously menaced for 
their benefit. Men have a right to demand that the mem- 
bers of a civilized community be civilized ; that the fabric 
of human culture, so laboriously woven, be not wantonly or 
ignorantly destroyed. Consequently a nation may rightly 
demand, even of a people it has consciously and intention- 
ally wronged, not indeed complete civilization in thirty or 
one hundred years, but at least every effort and sacrifice 
possible on their part toward making themselves fit mem- 
bers of the community within a reasonable length of time; 
that thus they may early become a source of strength and 
help instead of a national burden. Modern society has 
too many problems of its own, too much proper anxiety as 
to its own ability to survive under its present organization, 
for it lightly to shoulder all the burdens of a less advanced 
people, and it can rightly demand that as far as possible 
and as rapidly as possible the Negro bend his energy to the 
solving of his own social problems — contributing to his 
poor, paying his share of the taxes and supporting the 
schools and public administration. For the accomplish- 
ment of this the Negro has a right to demand freedom for 
self-development, and no more aid from without than is 
really helpful for furthering that development. Such aid 
must of necessity be considerable : it must furnish schools 



390 A Final Word. [Chap. XVIII. 

and reformatories, and relief and preventive agencies ; but 
the bulk of the work of raising the Negro must be done by 
the Negro himself, and the greatest help for him will be 
not to hinder and curtail and discourage his efforts. 
Against prejudice, injustice and^wrong the Negro ought to 
protest '^energetically and continuously, but he must never 
forget that he protests because those things hinder his own 
efforts, and that those efforts are the key to his future. 

And those efforts must be mighty and comprehensive, 
persistent, well-aimed and tireless ; satisfied with no partial 
success, lulled to sleep by no colorless victories ; and, above 
all, guided by no low selfish ideals ; at the same time they 
must be tempered by common sense and rational expecta- 
tion. In Philadelphia those efforts should first be directed 
toward a lessening of Negro crime ; no doubt the amount 
of crime imputed to the race is exaggerated, no doubt 
features of the Negro's environment over which he has no 
control, excuse much that is committed ; but beyond all 
this the amount of crime that can without doubt rightly be 
laid at the door of the Philadelphia Negro is large and is a 
menace to a civilized people. Efforts to stop this crime 
must commence in the Negro homes ; they must cease to 
be, as they often are, breeders of idleness and extravagance 
and complaint. Work, continuous and intensive; work, 
although it be menial and poorly rewarded ; work, though 
done in travail of soul and sweat of brow, must be so im- 
pressed upon Negro children as the road to^salvation, that 
a child would feel it a greater disgrace to be idle than to 
do the humblest labor. The homely virtues of honesty, 
truth and chastity must be instilled in the cradle, and 
although it is hard to teach self-respect to a people whose 
million fellow-citizens half-despise them, yet it must be 
taught as the surest road to gain the respect of others. 

It is right and proper that Negro boys and girls should 
desire to rise as high in the world as their ability and just 
desert entitle them. They should be ever encouraged and 



Sect 57.] The Duty of the Negroes. 391 

urged to do so, although they should be taught also that 
idleness and crime are beneath and not above the lowest 
work. It should be the continual object of Negroes to 
open up better industrial chances for their sons and daugh- 
ters. Their success here must of course rest largely with 
the white people, but not entirely. Proper co-operation 
among forty or fifty thousand colored people ought to 
open many chances of employment for their sons and 
daughters in trades, stores and shops, associations and 
industrial enterprises. 

Further, some rational means of amusement should be 
furnished young folks. Prayer meetings and church 
socials have their place, but they cannot compete in attrac- 
tiveness with the dance halls and gambling dens of the 
city. There is a legitimate demand for amusement on the 
part of the young which may be made a means of educa- 
tion, improvement and recreation. A harmless and beauti- 
ful amusement like dancing might with proper effort be 
rescued from its low and unhealthful associations and 
made a means of health and recreation. The billiard 
table is no more wedded to the saloon than to the church 
if good people did not drive it there. If the Negro homes 
and churches cannot amuse their young people, and if no 
other efforts are made to satisfy this want, then we cannot 
complain if the saloons and clubs and bawdy-houses send 
these children to crime, disease and death. 

There is a vast amount of preventive and rescue work 
which the Negroes themselves might do : keeping little 
girls off the street at night, stopping the escorting of 
unchaperoned young ladies to church and elsewhere, 
showing the dangers of the lodging system, urging the 
buying of homes and removal from crowded and tainted 
neighborhoods, giving lectures and tracts on health and 
habits, exposing the dangers of gambling and policy- 
playing, and inculcating respect for women. Day-nurseries 
and sewing-schools, mothers' meetings, the parks and 



392 A Final Word. [Chap. XVIII. 

airing places, all these things are little known or appre- 
ciated among the masses of Negroes, and their attention 
should be directed to them. 

The spending of money is a matter to which Negroes 
need to give especial attention. Money is wasted to-day 
in dress, furniture, elaborate entertainments, costly church 
edifices, and " insurance " schemes, which ought to go 
toward buying homes, educating children, giving simple 
healthful amusement to the young, and accumulating 
something in the savings bank against a " rainy day." A 
crusade for the savings bank as against the " insurance " 
society ought to be started in the Seventh Ward without 
delay. 

Although directly after the war there was great and 
remarkable enthusiasm for education, there is no doubt but 
that this enthusiasm has fallen off, and there is to-day 
much neglect of children among the Negroes, and failure 
to send them regularly to school. This should be looked 
into by the Negroes themselves and every effort made to 
induce full regular attendance. 

Above all, the better classes of the Negroes should 
recognize their duty toward the masses. They should not 
forget that the spirit of the twentieth century is to be the 
turning of the high toward the lowly, the bending of 
Humanity to all that is human ; the recognition that in 
the slums of modern society lie the answers to most of our 
puzzling problems of organization and life, and that only as 
we solve those problems is our culture assured and our 
progress certain. This the Negro is far from recognizing 
for himself; his social evolution in cities like Philadel- 
phia is approaching a mediaeval stage when the centri- 
fugal forces of repulsion between social classes are be- 
coming more powerful than those of attraction. So hard 
has been the rise of the better class of Negroes that 
they fear to fall if now they stoop to lend a hand to 
their fellows. This feeling is intensified by the blindness 



Sect. 58.] The Duty of the Whites. 393 

of those outsiders who persist even now in confounding 
the good and bad, the risen and fallen in one mass. 
Nevertheless the Negro must learn the lesson that other 
nations learned so laboriously and imperfectly, that his 
better classes have their chief excuse for being in the 
work they may do toward lifting the rabble. . This is 
especially true in a city like Philadelphia which has so 
distinct and creditable a Negro aristocracy ; that they do 
something already to grapple with these social problems 
of their race is true, but they do not yet do nearly as much 
as they must, nor do they- clearly recognize their responsi- 
bility. 

Finally, the Negroes must cultivate a spirit of calm, 
patient persistence in their attitude toward their fellow 
citizens rather than of loud and intemperate complaint. 
A man may be wrong, and know he is wrong, and yet 
some finesse must be used in telling him of it. The white 
people of Philadelphia are perfectly conscious that their 
Negro citizens are not treated fairly in all respects, but it 
will not improve matters to call names or impute unworthy 
motives to all men. Social reforms move slowly and yet 
when Right is reinforced by calm but persistent Progress 
we somehow all feel that in the end it must triumph. 

58. The Duty of the Whites. — There is a tendency on 
the part of many white people to approach the Negro 
question from the side which just now is of least pressing 
importance, namely, that of the social intermingling of 
races. The old query : Would you want your sister to 
marry a Nigger? still stands as a grim sentinel to stop 
much rational discussion. And yet few white women have 
been pained by the addresses of black suitors, and those who 
have, easily got rid of them. The whole discussion is little 
less than foolish ; perhaps a century from to-day we may 
find ourselves seriously discussing such questions of social 
policy, but it is certain that just as long as one group 
deems it a serious mesalliance to marry with another just 



394 A Final Word. [Chap. XVIII. 

so long few marriages will take place, and it/will need 
neither law nor argument to guide human choice in such a 
matter. Certainly the masses of whites would hardly 
acknowledge that an active propaganda of repression was 
necessary to ward off intermarriage. Natural pride of 
race, strong on one side and growing on the other, may be 
trusted to ward off such mingling as might in this stage of 
development prove disastrous to both races. All this there- 
fore is a question of the far-off future. 

To-day, however, we must face the fact that a natural 
repugnance to close intermingling with unfortunate ex- 
slaves has descended to a discrimination that very seriously 
hinders them from being anything better. It is right and 
proper to object to ignorance and consequently to ignorant 
men ; but if by our actions we have been responsible for 
their ignorance and are still actively engaged in keeping 
them ignorant, the argument loses its moral force. So with 
the Negroes : men have a right to object to a race so poor 
and ignorant and inefficient as the mass of the Negroes ; 
but if their policy in the past is parent of much of this 
condition, and if to-day by shutting black boys and girls 
out of most avenues of decent employment they are in- 
creasing pauperism and vice, then they must hold them- 
selves largely responsible for the deplorable results. 

There is no doubt that in Philadelphia the centre and 
kernel of the Negro problem so far as the white people are 
concerned is the narrow opportunities afforded Negroes for 
earning a decent living. Such discrimination is morally 
wrong, politically dangerous, industrially wasteful, and 
socially silly. It is the duty of the whites to stop it, and 
to do so primarily for their own sakes. Industrial freedom 
of opportunity has by long experience been proven to be 
generally best for all. Moreover the cost of crime and 
pauperism, the growth of slums, and the pernicious in- 
fluences of idleness and lewdness, cost the public far more 
than would the hurt to the feelings of a carpenter to work 



Sect. 58.] The Duty of the Whites. 395 

beside a black man, or a shop-girl to stand beside a darker 
mate. This does not contemplate the wholesale replacing 
of white workmen for Negroes out of sympathy or philan- 
thropy ; it does mean that talent should be rewarded, and 
aptness used in commerce and industry whether its owner 
be black or white ; that the same incentive to good, honest, 
effective work be placed before a black office boy as before 
a white one — before a black porter as before a white one ; 
and that unless this is done the city has no right to com- 
plain that black boys lose interest in work and drift into 
idleness and crime. Probably a change in public opinion 
on this point to-morrow would not make very much 
difference in the positions occupied by Negroes in the city : 
some few would be promoted, some few would get new 
places — the mass would remain as they are ; but it would 
make one vast difference : it would inspire the young to 
try harder, it would stimulate the idle and discouraged and 
it would take away from this race the omnipresent excuse 
for failure : prejudice. Such a moral change would work 
a revolution in the criminal rate during the next ten years. 
Even a Negro bootblack could black boots better if he 
knew he was a menial not because he was a Negro but 
because he was best fitted for that work. 

We need then a radical change in public opinion on this 
point ; it will not and ought not to come suddenly, but 
instead of thoughtless acquiescence in the continual and 
steadily encroaching exclusion of Negroes from work in 
the city, the leaders 'of industry and opinion ought to be 
trying here and there to open up new opportunities and 
give new chances to bright colored boys. The policy of 
the city to-day simply drives out the best class of young 
people whom its schools have educated and social oppor- 
tunities trained, and fills their places with idle and vicious 
immigrants. It is a paradox of the times that young men 
and women from some of the best Negro families of the 
city — families born and reared here and schooled in the 



396 A Final Word. [Chap. XVIII. 

best traditions of this municipility have actually had to go 
to the South to get work, if they wished to be aught but 
chambermaids and bootblacks. Not that such work may 
not be honorable and useful, but that it is as wrong to 
make scullions of engineers as it is to make engineers of 
scullions. Such a situation is a disgrace to the city — a 
disgrace to its Christianity, to its spirit of justice, to its 
common sense ; what can be the end of such a policy but 
increased crime and increased excuse for crime ? Increased 
poverty and more reason to be poor? Increased political 
serfdom of the mass of black voters to the bosses and 
rascals who divide the spoils ? Surely here lies the first 
duty of a civilized city. 

Secondly, in their efforts for the uplifting of the Negro 
the people of Philadelphia must recognize the existence of 
the better class of Negroes and must gain their active aid 
and co-operation by generous and polite conduct. Social 
sympathy must exist between what is best in both races and 
there must no longer be the feeling that the Negro who 
makes the best of himself is of least account to the city 
of Philadelphia, while the vagabond is to be helped and 
pitied. This better class of Negro does not want help or 
pity, but it does want a generous recognition of its diffi- 
culties, and a broad sympathy with the problem of life as 
it presents itself to them. It is composed of men and 
women educated and in many cases cultured ; with proper 
co-operation they could be a vast power in the city, and the 
only power that could successfully cope with many phases 
of the Negro problems. But their active aid cannot be 
gained for purely selfish motives, or kept by churlish 
and ungentle manners ; and above all they object to being 
patronized. 

Again, the white people of the city^must remember that 
much of the sorrow and bitterness that surrounds the life 
of the American Negro comes from the unconscious preju- 
dice and half-conscious actions of men and women who do 



Sect. 58.] The Duty of the Whites. \ 397 

not intend to wound or annoy. One is not compelled to 
discuss the Negro question with every Negro one meets or 
to tell him of a father who was connected with the Under- 
ground Railroad; one is not compelled to stare at the 
solitary black face in the audience as though it were not 
human ; it is not necessary to sneer, or be unkind or boor- 
ish, if the Negroes in the room or on the street are not all 
the best behaved or have not the most elegant manners ; it 
is hardly necessary to strike from the dwindling list of 
one's boyhood and girlhood acquaintances or school-day 
friends all those who happen to have Negro blood, simply 
because one has not the courage now to greet them on the 
street. The little decencies of daily intercourse can go 
on, the courtesies of life be exchanged even across the 
color line without any danger to the supremacy of the 
Anglo-Saxon or the social ambition of the Negro. With- 
out doubt social differences are facts not fancies and can- 
not lightly be swept aside ; but they hardly need to be 
looked upon as excuses for downright meanness and 
incivility. 

A polite and sympathetic attitude toward these striving 
thousands; a delicate avoidance of that which wounds and 
embitters them ; a generous granting 'of opportunity to 
them ; a seconding of their efforts, and a desire to reward 
honest success— all this, added to proper striving on their 
part, will go far even in our day toward making all men, 
white and black, realize what the great founder of the 
city meant, when he named it the City of Brotherly Love. 



appendices 



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26 



402 Appendix A. 



UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. 

Investigation into the Condition of the Negroes of 

Philadelphia. 

Instructions for Family Schedule. 

A family schedule must be made out for every group 
of two or more related persons living under conditions of 
family life. Boarders, lodgers and servants, are to be 
entered on separate individual schedules. Hotels, etc., 
should be entered on an institution schedule, and the in- 
mates on family and individual schedules. 

Question I. Enter here the number of persons in the family, exclusive 
of lodgers, boarders, visitors or servants. 

Question 2. Facts for the head of the family should be entered in the 
first column, and he or she should be designated as Head, whether 
man, woman, married or single. Give the other members the term 
which will indicate their relation to the head; as wife, son, daughter, 
sister, etc, or mother (*. e. mother of head of family), etc. 

Question 3. Abbreviate to M. (male), or F. (female). 

Question 4. Give exact years, as, 17, 29, 31, 43, etc., and do not say 
"about" 25,30,35,40. Enter children less than one year old on 
the 1st of December, in twelfths of a month, as 6-12, 3-12, etc.; or if 
not one month old, as 0-12. 

Questions. Enter as married (mar.), single (sing.), widowed (wid.). 
and separatd (sep.). 

Question 6. Give State and town. 

Questions 7 and 8. Give approximate number of years. 

Question 11. This refers to the children of the family. 

Questions 12 and 13. Write " Graduate— Girls' High, '96 "; or "Attend- 
ant Institute for Colored Youth, 3 yrs.," etc. Schools higher than 
common schools are here referred to. Answer this for all members 
of the family. 

Questions 14 and 15. This is an important inquiry. Simple as it appears, 

it is always difficult in census work to get satisfactory replies to this 

question. Inaccuracy and insufficiency of statement are the most 

prominent evils to be avoided : 

For instance, remember: we want to know not what a man " works in," 

but just what he does. 
We want to distinguish between : the owner or director of a business 
and one who works at it; between waiters and head- waiters; between 
cooks in private families and in hotels; between coachmen, hack men, 
and draymen ; between merchants and pedlars, and those who keep 
stands. 
Do not say: 

"Printer," but " compositor, " or "pressman;" not " mechanic," 
but ' * carpenter " or " plumber ; ' ' not ' ' agent, ' ' but ' ' real-estate 
agent;" not " merchant " or " pedlar, " but " dry-goods merchant " 
or "pedlar — tinware"; not "clerk" but "salesman in hardware- 
store," "stenographer," "bookeeper," etc. 



Schedules. 403 

Describe women who keep house at home as ' ' housewives ; ' ' those 
who keep house for others as "housekeepers." If the woman does 
her own houswork, and in addition pursues a gainful occupation, as 
dressmaking, enter: "housewife — dressmaker," or "housewife — 
day 's-work-out. ' ' 
Daughters, etc., who help with housework, should be entered: 
1 ' housework — no pay. ' ' Those who do nothing should be entered 
as "no occupation." Children, too young to have an occupation, 
should be entered "at home," or "at school." 

Question 17. Answer only one of these — preferably one of the first two. 
Seek to approximate the truth as nearly as possible. 

Question 22. This refers to sickness that was severe enough to interfere 
seriously with daily work. 

Question 23. Give the name of the disease or ailment. 

Question 25. Give dates as nearly as possible, and addresses. 

Question 26. Enter either the reason given or the reason surmised, or 
both. 

Question 28. Give street and number. 

Question 30. Give names of societies. 

Question 32. This question is optional, and is only for those who are able 
to give their expenditure in some detail. Fill only one of the three 
columns for each particular item (e. g. rent yearly, food weekly, etc.) 
and seek by reference to written accounts to make this report accu- 
rate. Remember that income, expenditure and savings must balance. 

Question 33. Enter this under one of the following heads: A. Athlet- 
ics (bicycling, baseball, etc. ) . B. Music. C. Church entertainments. 
D. Indoor games (cards, billiards, etc.). E. Balls. F. House- 
parties. G. Picnics and excursions. H. Theatres. 
Remember to enter here the actual chief amusement, not merely the 
one the person likes best, but does not often enjoy. 

Question 35. Give relationship to head of family. 

Where the question only applies to certain members of 
the family, put a cross in the spaces where there are no 
answers expected. Where no information is given, put 
" unknown," or " unanswered." 

Finally, remember that the information given is confi- 
dential ; the University of Pennsylvania will strictly guard 
it as such, and allow no one to have access to the schedules 
for other than scientific purposes. We ask, under these 
conditions, careful, accurate, and truthful answers. 



404 



Appendix A. 



UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. 

Condition of the Negroes of Philadelphia, Ward Seven. 

Individual Schedule, 2. 



December i, 1896. No. 



Investigator. 



I 
2 

3 

4 
5 
6 

7 
8 

9 
10 
11 

12 

13 
14 
15 

16 

17 
18 

19 
20 
21 
22 

23 

24 

2; 

26 

27 
28 

29 
30 
3i 



Relationship to head of family ? 

Sex? 

Age at nearest birthday ? 

Conjugal condition ? ... 

Place of birth ? . . . . 

Length of residence in Philadelphia ? 

Length of residence in this house ? 

Able to read ? ' 

Able to write ? 

Months in school during last school year ? . ... 

Graduate or attendant at any time of any higher 
school? 

Attendant of any industrial school ? 

Occupations since November 1, 1891 ? 

Present occupation ? 

Place of work ? 

f weekly ? 

Average income from present occupation X monthly ? 

( yearly ? 

Weeks unemployed at above occupation during last 
twelve months ? 

Weeks employed at any other occupation during last 
twelve months ? 

Name of such other occupation ? . . . . ... 

Average weekly earnings at such other occupation ? . 

Number of days sick during last twelve months ? 

Nature of illness ? 

Sound and healthy in mind, sight, hearing, speech, 
limbs and body ? ..... 

When and where have attempts been made to find 
other employment ? 

Why was application refused ? .... 

Amount of real estate owned ? 

Situation of such real estate ? 

Amount of other property ? 

Member of what building, secret, beneficial or insu- 
rance societies, or labor union ? 

Average monthly dues to such societies ? . . . . 



Budget: 

Total income for one year ? 

Expenditure for one year ? 



Expenditure for W'kly. Monthly. Yearly. Expenditure for W'kly. Monthly. Yearly 



Rent . . 
Food . . 
Fuel . . 
Clothing 



Amusements . 
Tobacco .... 
Alcoholic drinks 
Sick's and dt'h. 
All other pur- 
poses .... 



Total expenditure for one year ? 
Total savings for one year ? 



32 
33 
34 



Chief form of amusement? 

Member or attendant of what church ? 

Remarks. 

See Instructions for Family Schedule, 1. 



Schedules. 



405 



UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. 
Condition of the Negroes of Philadelphia, Ward Seven. 

Home Schedule, 3. 



December i, 1896. No. 



Investigator. 



I 

2 

3 

4 
5 
6 

7 
8 

9 

10 
11 
12 

13 

14 

15 
16 

17 
18 

19 
20 
21 
22 



Material of house ? 

Stories in house above basement ? 

Number of homes in house ? 

In which story is this home ? 

Number of rooms in this home ? 

Is this home rented directly of the landlord ? 
Number of boarders in this home ? . . 

Number of lodgers in this home ? 

Number of servants kept ? . . . . 

Total number of persons in this home ? . . . 

House owned by 

Rent paid monthly ? . . . . 
Rent received from sub-letting ? . . 

Bath-room? 

Water-closet ? 

Privy? 

Yard, and size ? 

Where is washing hung to dry ? 

Light ? 

Ventilation and air ? 

Cleanliness? ... 

Outside sanitary conditions ? . . ... 



The Home. 



23 
24 
25 
26 

27 
28 

29 



Use?. 

Dimensions? . . . . 
Outside windows ? . 

Furniture ? 

Occupants at night ? 
Additional rooms ? . 



Room 
No. 1. 


Room 
No. 2. 


Room 
No. 3. 


Room 

No. 4. 


Room 
No. 5. 













Room 

No. 6. 



When and where have you had difficulty in renting houses ? 



406 Appendix A. 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOME SCHEDULE. 

Every structure in which persons live is a dwelling for the purposes of 
this investigation, whether wholly so occupied or not. In each dwelling 
there will be one or more homes; for each such home a Home Schedule 
must be made out, and at its top the schedule number of the correspond- 
ing family or individual inserted. 

Question 4. If it occupies the house, put " whole house. " 

Questions 14, 15, 16, 17. Answer Yes or No. Note whether these facili- 
ties are used by one or more homes ? 

Questions 19, 20, 21, 22. Answer excellent, good, fair or bad. 

Question 26. This refers primarily to the living room. Note the presence 
of the following articles: piano, organ, parlor-suit, sewing-machine, 
bookshelves, couch, centre-table, rocking-chair, etc. 



Schedules, 



407 



UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. 

Condition of the Negroes of Philadelphia, Ward Seven. 

House Servant Schedule, 4. 



December i, 1896. No. 



Investigator. 



I 
2 

3 
4 
5 
6 

7 
8 

9 
10 
11 
12 

13 

14 
15 
16 

17 

18 

19 
20 
21 
22 

23 
24 

25 
26 

27 



Street and number? 

Occupation of employer? 

Sex? 

Age at nearest birthday ? 

Conjugal condition? 

Any home in the city ? 

Address of same ? 

Place of birth ? , 

Number of days sick in last twelve months ? . . . . 

Nature of illness ? . 

Able to read ? 

Able to write ? 

Graduate or attendant at any time of any higher 

school? 

Occupations since November 1, 1891? 

Present occupation ? . 

Length of service here ? 

Weekly earnings ? 

Is board given in addition to this ? 

Is lodging given in addition to this ? . . 

Number of hours free each month ? 

Who besides yourself is supported by your wages ? . 
How much is given for this purpose weekly ? . . . . 

Member or attendant of what church ? 

When and where have you attempted to get other 

employment? 

Why was application refused ? 

What is your chief amusement ? 



Budget: 

Total income for one year: 



28 



Expenditure for 


W'kly. 


Monthly. 


Yearly. 


Clothing . . . 
Amusement . . 
Lodging .... 















Expenditure for 



Sickness .... 
Dues to Societies 
All other pur- 
poses 



W'kly. Monthly. Yearly 



Total expense for one year ? 

Total savings ? 

Amount of property owned ? 



For Instructions, see Family Schedule, 1. 



408 



Appendix A. 



UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. 

Condition of the Negroes of Philadelphia, Ward Seven. 

Street Schedule, 5. Street, between Streets, 



December i, 1896. 



NO. 



Investigator. 



I 
2 

3 
4 
5 
6 

7 
8 

9 
10 
11 
12 

13 
14 
15 
16 

17 
18 

*9 
20 
21 
22 



General Character? 

Width? ' 

Paved with ? 

Street-car line ? 

Character of houses T % 

Stories in houses? 

Material of houses ? ... 

Proportion occupied as dwellings? . 
Proportion of Whites to Blacks ? . 

Nationality of Whites ? 

Cleanliness of street? 

Width of sidewalks ? 

Lighted by ? 

Hydrants? 

Schools? 

Churches? 

Saloons ? . . 

Pool-rooms? 

Public institutions ? , 

Public conveniences? 

Shops? , 

Remarks? 



Schedules. 409 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR STREET SCHEDULE. 

A "street " in this Schedule is meant to designate not necessarily the 
whole street which bears one name— as Lombard from river to river — but 
rather such parts of streets as have a common character; thus four or five 
Schedules would be necessary for the distinctive parts of Lombard Street, 
two for Juniper, several for Pine, one for Wetherill. 

1. Characterize the street concisely; as, "respectable residence 
street," or "blind alley with tumble-down brick houses." 

4. Answer by Yes or No. 

5. Note whether the houses are dwellings, stables, etc. , respectable, 

suspicious, etc. 
8. Estimate carefully; as one-third dwellings, or one-half back 

yards, etc. 
9 and 10. Ask a policeman, or one or two of the persons dwelling 

there. Do not depend on your own observation, unless it 

extends over some time. 
11. Answer by excellent, good, fair, or bad. 

14. Give number. 

15. Give names. 

16. Give number, names and denomination. 
17 and 18. Give number. 

19. This includes hospitals, clubs, missions, manufactories. Note 

clubs of all sorts carefully, and ascertain their character if 
possible. Enter all these institutions by name. 

20. This refers to public water-closets, baths, urinals, and lavatories. 

21. Give approximate distribution and character of shops. 

22. Make here any concise statement that will throw light on the 

street and its inhabitants. 



410 



Appendix A. 



UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. 
Condition of the Negroes of Philadelphia, Ward Seven. 

Institution Schedule ', 6. 



December i, 1896. No. 



Investigator. 



I 
2 

3 
4 
5 
6 

7 
8 

9 
10 
11 
12 
13 
14 
15 
16 



Name? ... 

Street and number ? 

Character? 

Proprietors? 

Number of members or partners? 
Amount of capital invested ? . . 

Real estate owned ? 

Value of same ? 

Taxes paid last year on same ? . . 
Value of other property ? . . . . 
Income last twelve months ? . . 

Source of said income ? 

Expenditures last twelve months ? 
Objects of expenditures? .... 

History ? 

Description and remarks: .... 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR INSTITUTION SCHEDULE. 

This includes all institutions conducted by Negroes wholly or partially, 
or wholly or partially in the interest of the Negroes; as, e. g., churches, 
missions, clubs, shops, stands, stores, agencies, societies, associations, 
halls, newspapers, etc. 

Find out the object of the enterprise (philanthropic, social, business, 
etc.), the capital invested, the property owned, taxes paid, income for 
past twelve months, character and amount of expenditure, sort of quar- 
ters occupied, and persons connected, etc., aiming, in all cases, to collect 
essential facts. 

Especially try and find out whether the enterprise is that of one per- 
son, of a partnership, or is a co-operative enterprise among a large num- 
ber. If in any degree co-operative, bring out the extent, character and 
objects of the co-operation. 



APPENDIX B. 

LEGISLATION, ETC., OF PENNSYLVANIA IN REGARD TO 

THE NEGRO. 

1682. Negro Serfdom Recognized. The charter of the Free 
Society of Traders of Pennsylvania recognizes the slavery of 
Blacks. Slaves were to be freed after fourteen years of service, 
upon condition that they cultivate land allotted to them, and 
surrender two- thirds of the produce annually. — Hazard's An- 
nals (Ed. 1850), 553. 

1693, J u ly IJ - Tumults of Slaves. Action of City Council 
of Philadelphia against tumults by slaves. — Penna. Col. Rec , 
I, 380-81. 

1700. Slave Marriages. Penn proposes a bill regulating 
slave marriages; bill is lost in Council. — Bettle, 368; Thomas, 
266. 

1700, November 27. Trial of Slaves. "An Act for the 
Trial of Negroes." Introduced by Penn. This act provided 
that Negroes accused of high crime should be tried by two 
justices of the peace and six freeholders; rape of white women 
to be punished by death, and attempts by castration; Negroes 
were not to carry arms without special license; over four Ne- 
groes meeting together on Sundays or other days "upon no 
lawful business of their masters or owners " were to be whipped. 
— Statutes- at- Large, ch. 56. (Disallowed January 7, 1706.) 

1700, November 27. Traffic with Slaves. "An Act for the 
Better Regulation of Servants in this Province and Territories." 
Traffic with slaves forbidden, among other things.— Statutes- 
at- Large, ch. 49. 

1700, November 27. Duty on Slaves. "An Act for Grant- 
ing an Impost upon Wines, Rum, Beer, Ale, Cider, etc. , Im- 
ported, Retorted and Sold in this Province and Territories. ' ' 
§2. . . . "for every Negro, male or female, imported, if 
above sixteen years of age, twenty shillings; for every Negro 
under the age of sixteen, six shillings. — Statutes-at-Large, 
ch. 85. 

(411) 



412 Appendix B. 

1706, January 12. Duty on Slaves. "An Act for Raising a 

Supply " Imported Negroes, except those who 

lived at least two years in Jersey, 40s. (or iay. ?) per head. — 
Statutes-at-Large, ch. 164. 

1706, January 12. Trial of Negroes. "An Act for the Trial 
of Negroes." Practically the same as the Act of 1700; attempt 
to rape and robbery of £5 or more, punished by branding and 
exportation. — Statutes-at-Large, ch. 143. (Repealed by Act of 
1780, q. v.) 

1708. Protest to Legislature. Protest of Mechanics against 
hiring out of Negroes. — Scharf-Wescott : History of Phila- 
delphia, I, 200. 

1 7 10, December 28. Duty Act. " An Impost Act, laying a 
Duty on Negroes. . . ." — 405. on Negroes imported. — 
Carey and Bioren, I, 82. 

171 1, February 28. Duty Act. "An Impost Act, laying a 
Duty on Negroes. . . ." 4a?. on Negroes not imported for 
importers own use. — Statutes-at-Large, ch. 181. (Disallowed 
20 February, 17 14.) 

17 1 2, Petition for Emancipation. Petition of Southeby for 
Abolition of Slavery. — DuBois' Slave Trade, p. 22. 

17 1 2. Negro Plot. Negro plot in New York. — Ibid. 

1712, June 11. Duty Act. "A Supplementary Act to. . ." 
the Act of 1810. — Carey and Bioren, I, 87-88. (Disallowed 
in 1713.) 

1712, June 7. Prohibitory Duty Act. "An Act to Prevent 
the Importation of Negroes and Indians into this Province." 
^£20 prohibitory duty laid on slaves imported, because of 
their plots and insurrections. — Statutes-at-Large, ch. 192. Cf. 
DuBois' Slave Trade, p. 22. (Disallowed 17 13.) 

1 7 13. Assiento Treaty. Contract for importing slaves into 
Spanish West Indies signed by Great Britain. — DuBois' Slave 
Trade, pp. 207-9. 

17 15, May 28. Duty Act. " An Act for Laying a Duty on 
Negroes Imported into this Province." £5 duty ; slaves of 
immigrants not to be sold for a year. — Statutes-at-Large, III, 
121. (Disallowed 21 July, 1719.) 

1718, February 22. Duty Act. "An Act for Continuing a 
Duty on Negroes. . . ." £5 duty; slaves of immigrants 
not to be sold for 16 months. — Statutes-at-Large, III, 164. 



Legislation, etc. 413 

1721, February 24. Duty Act. "An Act for Continuing 
several Acts. . . ." Act of 17 18 continued. — Statutes-at 
Large, III, 238. 

172 1, August 21. Traffic with Negroes. " A Supplementary 
Act to a Law. . . ." On Public Houses. No liquors to 
be sold Negroes or Indians without leave. — Statutes-at-Large, 
III, 250. 

172 1, August 26. Police Regulation. "An Act for Pre- 
venting Accidents that May Happen by Fire." Slaves shoot- 
ing squibs or guns in Philadelphia without license to be 
whipped. — Statutes-at-Large, III, 254. 

1722, May 12. Duty Act. " An Act for Laying a Duty on 
Negroes. . . ." £5 duty, as in 1718. — Statutes-at-Large, 
HI, 275. 

1722. Petition of White Laborers. Laborers petition Gen- 
eral Assembly against employment of Blacks. Assembly 
resolves: That the principle is dangerous and injurious to the 
republic and not to be sanctioned. — Watson's Annals, I, 98. 

1726, March 5. Duty Act. "An Act for Laying a Duty 
on Negroes. . . ." Act of 1722 continued from 1726 to 
1729. — Statutes-at-Large, IV, 52. 

1726, March 26. Status of Negroes Defined. "An Act 
for the Better Regulation of Negroes in this Province." 

"Whereas, it often happens that Negroes commit felonies 
and other heinous crimes, which by the laws of this Province 
are punishable by death, but the loss of such cases falling 
wholly on the owner, is so great a hardship that sometimes 
may induce him to conceal such crimes, or convey his Negro 
to some other place and so suffer him to escape justice to the 
ill example of others to commit like offences. 

" Be it resolved, etc., That Negroes convicted of capital crime 
be valued and paid for out of money collected as duty on their 
importation." . . . 

§ III. " Whereas, free Negroes are an idle and slothful peo- 
ple and often prove burdensome to the neighborhood and 
afford ill examples to other Negroes. Therefore, Be it enacted 
that if any master or mistress shall discharge or set free any 
Negro, he or she shall enter into recognizance with sufficient 
securities in the sum of ^"30 to indemnify the county for any 
charge or incumbrance they may bring upon the same in case 



414 Appendix B. 

such Negro, through sickness or otherwise, be rendered incap- 
able of self-support." 

In case of freedom by will, the executor or administrator 
was required to give the bond, or such slaves should not be 
regarded as free. 

Any Negro becoming free under age, 21, might be bound to 
service until of age. 

The Act further provided penalties for the harboring of 
Negroes by each other; for trading or dealing with each other 
without license — all on pain of being sold into slavery if unable 
to pay fine; also provided penalty of ^"ioo for anybody who 
should marry a Negro and white person; ^"30 for Negro 
caught living in marriage relation with white person, in such 
cases Negro to be sold into slavery for life. 

§ XI of Act prohibited masters, etc., from allowing Negro 
slaves to hire their own time. 

One section also imposed a duty of £\o on imported 
slaves. — Statutes-at-Large, IV, 59. 

1729, May 10. Duty Act. " An Act for Laying a Duty on 
Negroes Imported into this Province." £2 duty. — Statutes- 
at-Large, IV, 128. 

1732, April 17. Slave Tumults. Philadelphia Council order 
Ordinance drawn to prevent tumults of slaves on Sundays. — 
Watson's Annals, I, 62. 

1738, July 3. Slave Tumults. Draft of Ordinance to sup- 
press tumults of slaves considered in Philadelphia City Coun- 
cil. — Ibid., I, 62. 

1 74 1, August 17. Tumults of Negroes. Order made by 
Philadelphia City Councils to suppress disorders of Negroes 
and others on court house square at night. — Watson's Annals, 
I, 62-63. 

1 76 1, March 14. Duty Act. " An Act for Laying a Duty on 
Negro and Mulatto Slaves imported into this province." ^10 
duty? Continued in 1768; repealed in 1780. — Carey and Bioren, 

I, 37 1 * 45 1 - 

1761, April 22. Duty Act. " A Supplement to. ..." 

the Act of 1 76 1.— Ibid., 371, 451. 

1768, February 20. Duty Act. Acts of 1761 re-enacted. — 
Dallas, I, 490. 

1773, February 26. Duty Act. "An Act for Making 



Legislation, etc. 415 

Perpetual the Act. . . . " of 1761. Additional £\o duty 
provided for. — Dallas, I, 671. 

1775. Bill on Importation. Bill to prohibit importation of 
slaves vetoed by Governor. — Bettle. 

1778, September 7. Recovery of Duties. "An Act for the 
Recovery of the Duties on Negro and Mulatto Slaves. . . . " 
—Dallas, I, 782. 

1779, February 5. Plan of Emancipation. Supreme Ex- 
ecutive Council recommends a plan of gradual emancipation to 
Assembly. 

1780, March 1. Slavery Abolished. " An Act for the Grad- 
ual Abolition of Slavery." 

§1,2. General condemnation of slavery. 

§ 3. No child born hereafter in Pennsylvania to be a slave. 

§ 4. Children of slaves born hereafter to be bound to service 
until twenty-eight years of age. 

§ 5. All slaves to be registered. 

§ 7. Negroes to be tried for crime like other inhabitants. 

§ 10. None to be slaves except those registered. 

§ 14. Acts of 1725, 1761 and 1773 repealed. — Carey and 
Bioren, ch. 88 r. 

1786. Petition for Potter's Field. Petition of Philadelphia 
Negroes to Council for leave to enclose Potter's Field as a 
Negro burial ground. — Penna. Col. Rec. XIV, 637. 

1788, March 29. Act of 1780 Amended. ''An Act to Ex- 
plain and Amend an Act Entitled ' An Act for the Gradual 
Abolition of Slavery.' " 

§ 2. Slaves of immigrants to be free. 

§ 3. Slaves not to be removed from without their consent 
given before two justices. 

§ 4. Persons possessed of children liable to serve till twenty- 
eight years old must register them. 

§ 5. Slave trading forbidden under penalty and forfeiture. 

§ 6. Slaves serving for a term of years not to be separated 
from parents. — Carey and Bioren, ch. 394. 

1790, September 2. Negro Suffrage. Constitution of Penn- 
sylvania. Art. Ill, Sec. 1. In elections by the citizens, every 
freeman of the age of twenty- one years, having resided in the 
State two years next before the election, and within that time 
paid a State or county tax, which shall have been assessed at 



41 6 Appendix B. 

least six months before the election, shall enjoy the rights of 
an elector. — Purdon's Digest, 6th ed. 

1793, April 11. Duty on Slaves. "An Act to Establish a 
Board of Wardens for the Port of Philadelphia. . . . " 

§ 22. Of passengers entering port only slaves to pay head 
money. — Carey and Bioren, ch. 178. 

1800. Petition to Congress. Petition of Negroes to Legisla- 
ture and Congress against slave-trade. — DuBois' Slave-Trade, 
p. 81-83. 

1 82 1, April. Act vs. Pauperism. "An Act to Prevent the 
Increase of Pauperism in the Commonwealth." 

§ 1. If any black indentured servant over twenty-eight 
years of age is brought into the State, his master is liable for his 
charge if he becomes a pauper. — Laws of Penna., 1821. 

1826, March 25. Act vs. Kidnapping. "An Act to Give 
Effect to the Provisions of the Constitution of the United States, 
Relative to Fugitives from Labor, for the Protection of the Free 
People of Color, and to prevent Kidnapping." 

§ 1. Fine of $500-^2000 and imprisonment seven to twenty- 
one years for kidnapping. 

§ 2. Aiding and abetting punished. 

§§ 3-6. Claimed fugitives to be arrested on warrant and taken 
before a judge. Oath of alleged owner or of interested per- 
sons not received as evidence. — Laws of Penna., 1826. Cf 
Prigg vs. Penna., 16 Peters, 500, U. S. Reports. 

1827, April 17. Sales of Fugitives. "An Act to Prevent 
Certain Abuses of the Laws Relative to Fugitives from Labor. ' ' 
No sales of fugitive slaves to be made in the State of Pennsyl- 
vania. — Laws of Penna., 1827. 

1832. Restriction on Immigration. Bill in Legislature to 
make free Negroes carry passes. Cf., p. 27. 

1837, July. Negro Suffrage. Pennsylvania Supreme Court 
at Sunbury; case of Hobbs et al. vs. Fogg. Judgment of Com- 
mon Pleas Court reversed and Negro declared not a "free- 
man" in the meaning of Constitution. — Penna. Reports, 6 

Watts, 553" 6 °' 

1838. Negro Suffrage. Revised Constitution of Pennsyl- 
vania, Art. Ill, Sec. 1. "In elections by the citizens, every 
white freeman of the age of twenty-one years, having resided 
in this State one year, and in the election district where he 



Legislation, etc. 417 

offers to vote ten days immediately preceding such election, and 
within two years paid a State or county tax, which shall have 
been assessed at least ten days before the election, shall enjoy 
the right of an elector." — Purdon's Digest, Sixth Ed. 

1854, May 8. "An Act for the Regulation and Continuance 
of a System of Education by Common Schools." 

The Controllers and Directors of the several school districts 
of the State are hereby authorized and required to establish 
within their respective districts separate schools for Negro and 
Mulatto children wherever such schools can be located so as to 
accommodate twenty or more pupils ; and wherever such 
schools shall be established and kept open four months in 
every year the Directors and Controllers shall not be compelled 
to admit such pupils into any other schools of the district. — 
Laws of Penna., 1854. 

1863, March 6. Immigratioyi. Petition against immigration 
of freedmen to Pennsylvania denied by Senate committee of 
Legislature. — Pamphlet, Phila. Library. 

1867. Separate Seats in Cars. Pennsylvania Supreme 
Court; case of West Chester and Philadelphia Co. vs. Miles. 
Held that separation of Negroes to assigned seats for good 
order, is not illegal on railways, etc. — Penna. Reports, 5 Smith, 
209. 

1867, March 22. Civil Rights. Negroes to have same rights 
on railway cars as white citizens. — Brightley's Purdon, Eleventh 
Ed., 1436. 

1870, April 6. Negro Suffrage. § 10 of Act says : " That 
so much of every Act of Assembly as provides that only white 
freemen shall be entitled to vote or to register as voters, or as 
claiming to vote, at any general or special election in this 
Commonwealth, be and the same is hereby repealed ; and that 
hereafter all freemen, without distinction of color, shall be en- 
rolled and registered according to the provisions of the act ap- 
proved April 17, 1869." — Laws of Penna., 1870. 

1874. Negro Suffrage. New Constitution removes restric- 
tions as to color. 

1874, April 10. Civil Rights. Pennsylvania Supreme Court; 
case of Drew vs. Peer. Damages given Negroes for ejectment 
from a theatre. — 12 Norris, 234. 

1878, March 15. Civil Rights. Pennsylvania Supreme 
27 



4-1 8 Appendix B. 

Court; case of Central Railroad of New Jersey vs. Green and 
wife. Damages granted for compelling Negroes to go from one 
car to another on railway. — Penna. Reports, 5 Norris, 421, 427. 

1 88 1, June 8. Mixed Schools. % 1. It shall be unlawful for 
any school director, superintendent, or teacher to make any 
distinction whatever on account of, or by reason of, the race or 
color of any pupil or scholar who may be in attendance upon 
or seeking admission to, any public or common school main- 
tained wholly or in part under the school laws of the common- 
wealth. — Brightley's Purdon, Eleventh ed., p. 292. 

1887, May 19. Civil Rights. "An Act to Provide Civil 
Rights for all People, Regardless of Race or Color." "§ 1. Be it 
enacted, etc., that; any person, company, corporation, being 
owner, lessee or manager of any restaurant, hotel, railroad, 
street railway, omnibus line, theatre, concert hall or place of 
entertainment or amusement, who shall refuse to accommodate, 
convey or admit any person or persons on account of race or 
color over their lines or into their hotel or restaurant, theatre, con- 
cert hall or place of amusement, shall upon conviction thereof 
be guilty of a misdemeanor and be punished by a fine of not 
less than fifty or more than one hundred dollars." — L,aws of 
Penna., 1887, pp. 130-31. 

1895, J ur y 2 - Life Insurance. I^ife insurance companies are 
not allowed to make any discriminations as to premiums, divi- 
dends, or otherwise, between insured of the same class and ex- 
pectation of life. — Penna. L,aws, 1895, p. 432. 



APPENDIX C. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY. 

/. General Works. 

Publications of Atlanta University : 

No. i. Mortality Among Negroes in Cities. 

No. 2. Social and Physical Condition of Negroes. 

No. 3. Efforts of Negroes for Social Betterment. 

— Atlanta, Ga., 1896-98. 

Edward Bettle. Notices of Negro Slavery as Connected 
with Pennsylvania. In Mem. Hist. Soc. of Pennsylvania, I. 

Charles Booth. Life and Labour of the People. London, 
1892. 

M. Carey and J. Bioren. Laws of Pennsylvania, 1700- 1802. 
Philadelphia, 1803. 

A. J. Dallas. Laws of Pennsylvania, 1700-1781. Philadel- 
phia, 1797. 

W. E. Burghardt DuBois. Suppression of the Slave Trade. 
New York, 1896. 

The Study of the Negro Problems. Annals of the 

Amer. Acad, of Pol. and Soc. Science. Philadelphia, 1898. 

The Negroes of Farmville, Va. (U. S. Bureau 

of Labor Bulletin, January, 1898.) 

[Benjamin Franklin.] An Essay on the African Slave 
Trade. Philadelphia, 1790. 

[Friends.] German town Friends' Protest Against Slavery, 
1688. (Facsimile copy) Philadelphia, 1880. 

[Friends.] The Appeal of the Religious Society of Friends 
in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, etc. ... on behalf of the 
Colored Races. Philadelphia, 1858. 

[Friends.] A Brief Statement of the Rise and Progress of 
the Testimony of the Religious Society of Friends against 
Slavery and the Slave Trade. Philadelphia, 1843. 

Samuel Hazard. The Register of Pennsylvania. Phila- 
delphia, 1828-36. 

(419) 



420 Appendix C. 

Hull House Maps and Papers. New York, 1895. 

Samuel M. Janney. History of the Religious Society of 
Friends. Philadelphia, 1859-67. 

Walter Laidlaw, Editor. The Federation of Churches and 
Christian Workers in New York City. First and Second 
Sociological Canvasses. New York, 1 896-1 897. 

Marion J. McDougal. Fugitive Slaves. Boston, 1891. 

Edward Needles. An Historical Memoir of the Pennsyl- 
vania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. Phila- 
delphia, 1848. 

William C. Nell. Services of Colored Americans in the 
Wars of 1776 and 181 2. Reprinted, Philadelphia, 1894. 

Statutes-at-L,arge of the State of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia. 

Pennsylvania Colonial Records. Philadelphia. 

Robert Proud. History of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, 
1797-98. 

R. Mayo-Smith. Statistics and Sociology. New York, 1896. 

Allen Clapp Thomas. The Attitude of the Society of 
Friends toward Slavery, etc. (Reprinted from Vol. VIII, 
American Society of Church History.) New York, 1897. 

Census of the United States, First to the Eleventh. Wash- 
ington, 1790-1898. 

George W. Williams. History of the Negro Race in Amer- 
ica from 1619 to 1880. New York, 1883. 

Joseph T. Willson. The Black Phalanx. Hartford, 1889. 

Carroll D. Wright. Slums of Great Cities. Seventh Special 
Report of the United States Department of Labor. Washing- 
ton, 1894. 



77. Books and Pamphlets Relating to Philadelphia Negroes. 

Benjamin C. Bacon. Statistics of the Colored People of 
Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 1856. 

Ibid., Second Edition, with Statistics of Crime. 

Philadelphia, 1859. 

A Brief History of the Movement to Abolish the Slums of 
Philadelphia. Philadelphia. (Pam.) 

Collection of Reports of Charitable Institutions for Colored 
Persons. Philadelphia. (Ridge way Library. ) 



Bibliography. 421 

Colored Enlistments. Philadelphia. (Pam. Philadelphia 
Library Co.) 

Colored People in Philadelphia. Philadelphia. (Pam. Phila- 
delphia Library Co.) 

Colored Regiments. Philadelphia. (Pam. Philadelphia 
Library Co.) 

Education and Employment Statistics of the Colored People 
of Philadelphia. (MS. in Library of Historical Association.) 

Dr. E. O. Emerson. Vital Statistics of Philadelphia (in 
American Journal of Medical Sciences, July, 1848.) 

[Friends.] A Brief Sketch of the Schools for Black People 
and Their Descendants Established by the Religious Society of 
Friends, in 1770. Philadelphia, 1867. 

A. Mott. Biography of Colored People. Philadelphia. 
(Pam. Philadelphia Library Co.) 

Edward Needles. Ten Years' Progress, or a Comparison of 
the State and Condition of the Colored People in the City and 
County of Philadelphia from 1837 to ^M- Philadelphia, 1849. 

Daniel A. Payne. History of the A. M. E. Church. Nash- 
ville, 1891. 

Report of the Committee Appointed for the Purpose of 
Securing to Colored People in Philadelphia the Right to the 
use of the Street Cars. Philadelphia, 1865. (Pam.) 

Report of the Committee on the Comparative Health, Mor- 
tality, Length of Sentences, etc., of White and Colored Con- 
victs. Philadelphia, 1849. 

Frederick W. Spiers. The Street Railway System of Phila- 
delphia, etc. Johns Hopkins University Studies. Ser. 15, 
Nos. 3-5. Baltimore, 1897. 

The Present State and Condition of the Free People of 
Colour of the City of Philadelphia and Adjoining Districts, etc. 
Philadelphia, 1838. 

A Statistical Inquiry into the Condition of the People of 
Color of the City and Districts of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 
1849. 

Trades of the Colored People. Philadelphia, 1838. 

John F. Watson. Annals of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 
1830. 

A. W. Wayman. My Recollections of A. M. E. Ministers. 
Philadelphia, 1882. 



422 Appendix C. 

Why Colored People in Philadelphia Are Excluded from the 
Street Cars. Philadelphia, 1866. (Pam. Two Editions.) 

[John Woolman.] Considerations on Keeping Negroes. 
Philadelphia, 1784. 

III. Books and Pamphlets Written by Philadelphia Negroes. 

Act of Incorporation, Causes and Motives of the African 
Episcopal Church of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 18 10. 

Richard Allen. (First Bishop of A. M. E. Church.) The 
L,ife, Experience and Gospel Labours of the Rt. Rev. Richard 
Allen, etc. Written by himself. Philadelphia, 1833. 

Richard Allen and Jacob Tapsico. The Doctrine and Discip- 
line of the A. M. E. Church. Philadelphia, 1819. 

Matthew Anderson. Presbyterianism and Its Relation to 
the Negro. Philadelphia, 1897. 

Appeal of Forty Thousand Colored Citizens, Threatened with 
Disfranchisement, to the People of Pennsylvania. Philadel- 
phia, 1838. (Pam.) 

Jeremiah Asher. Autobiography. Philadelphia, 1862. 

E. D. Bassett. Handbook on Hayti. Philadelphia. 

J. J. G. Bias. Synopsis of Phrenology. Philadelphia, 1859. 

Iyorenzo Blackson. Autobiography. Philadelphia, 1861. 

C. H. Brooks. Manual and History of the Grand United 
Order of Odd Fellows. 360 pp. Philadelphia, 1864. 

Robert Campbell. A Pilgrimage to My Motherland; an Ac- 
count of a Journey among the Egbas and Yorubas of Central 
Africa. Philadelphia, 1861. 

W. Y. Catto. History of the Presbyterian Movement. Phil- 
adelphia, 1858. 

Levi J. Coffin. The Relation of Baptized Children to the 
Church. Philadelphia, 1890. 106 pp. 

Martin Robinson Delaney. Condition, Elevation, Emigration 
and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, etc. 
Philadelphia, 1852. 

William Douglass. Sermons Preached in the African Prot- 
estant Episcopal Church of St. Thomas', Philadelphia. Phila- 
delphia, 1854. 

William Douglass. Annals of St. Thomas' Church. Phil- 
adelphia, 1862. 



Bibliography. 423 

John S. Durham. To Teach the Negro History. Philadel- 
phia, 1898. 

Frances E. W. Harper. Miscellaneous Poems. Boston, 
1854. 

. Forest Leaves. Baltimore, 1855. 

. Iola Leroy: A Novel. Third Edition. 

Philadelphia, 1892. 280 pp. 

Absalom Jones. A Thanksgiving Sermon. . . . On 
Account of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade, etc. 
Philadelphia, 1808. (Pam.) 

Robert Jones. Fifty Years in the Lombard Street Central 
Presbyterian Church. Philadelphia, 1894. 170 pp. 

H. T. Johnson. The Divine Logos. Philadelphia, 1890. 

Jarena Lee. Journal. Philadelphia, 1849. 

. The Color of Solomon. Philadelphia, 1895. 

93PP- 

Minutes of the First Annual Convention of the People of 

Colour. Philadelphia, 1831. (Pam.) 

Minutes of Third Annual Convention of Free Negroes. 
Philadelphia, 1833. (Pam.) 

Mrs. N. T. Mossell. The Work of Afro-American Women. 
Philadelphia, 1894. I 7 8 PP- 

Proceedings of Convention of Colored Freemen of Pennsyl- 
vania. Philadelphia. (Pam.) 

Robert Purvis. Remarks on the Life and Character of James 
Forten. (Pam.) 

William Still. The Underground Railroad. Philadelphia, 
1872. 780 pp. 

Benjamin T. Tanner. An Apology for African Methodism. 
Baltimore, 1867. 468 pp. 

. Theological Lectures. Nashville, 1894. 

185 pp. 

. An Outline of History and Government for 

A. M. E. Churchmen. Philadelphia, 1884. 206 pp. 

[Joseph Willson.] Sketches of the Higher Classes of Colored 
Society in Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 1841. 



SPECIAL REPORT 



ON 



Negro Domestic Service 

In the Seventh Ward 
Philadelphia 



by 
ISABEL EATON, A. M. 

Fellow of the College Settlements Association 



I. 



INTRODUCTION. 



This paper is an attempt to give the most accurate facts- 
obtainable bearing upon the question of colored domestic ser- 
vice in Philadelphia. It endeavors to show the relation of the 
colored domestic to the general domestic service problem on 
the one hand, and to the great mass of the Negro people on 
the other. The purpose, scope and methods of the work are 
the same as those already explained at length by Dr. W. B. B. 
Du Bois in the introduction to this volume, constituting the 
general report of the investigation conducted by the University 
of Pennsylvania. 

The section treating Domestic Service is no unimportant divi- 
sion of the general subject. On the contrary, it is probably of 
more consequence than any other single aspect of the problem, 
since the number of domestic servants among colored wage- 
earners is shown by the last census to be greater in thirty-two 
out of forty-eight States than the number engaged in any other 
occupation ; while in many cases it is greater than the number 
engaged in all other employments taken together. Indeed this 
predominance of domestic service over all other occupations fol- 
lowed by the Negroes, is recorded of every State in the Union, 
excepting the Southern States, where agriculture stands first 
and domestic service second. It will doubtless be surprising 
to many to hear that the census record shows that each of the 
Northern and Western States, with the single exception of Dela- 
ware, has more colored people in domestic service than in any 
other occupation, while in nearly seven in every ten of these 
States colored domestic service more than outnumbers the 
aggregate of all other occupations of colored people. The 
record for the State of Pennsylvania as given by the last 
census shows the following facts concerning occupations of 
Negroes throughout the State: 

(427) 



428 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 





All Occupations. 


Domestic Service. 


State. 


Males. 


Females. 


Males. 


Females. 




37,534 


15,704 


22,505 


14,297 



It appears from this that very nearly 60 per cent of the colored 
workingmen of Pennsylvania are engaged in domestic ser- 
vice ; while over 91 per cent of the colored workingwomen of 
the State are in service. A graphic presentation of these facts 
makes clear the large proportion of the Negro population 
of Pennsylvania employed in domestic service: 

Proportion of Colored Domestic Servants in Pennsylvania 
as Compared with Whole Working Colored Popu- 
lation — Eleventh Census. 

O IO 20 30 40 SO 6O 70 . SO 90 IOO 




jgj DOMESTIC SERVICE 

□ ALL OTHER OCCUPATIONS 

In the city of Philadelphia nearly the same preponderance of 
domestic service in relation to other occupations of the colored 
people is found. 

In this investigation a separate schedule, for domestic service 
was used. 1 Like the other schedules, it was prepared under the 
direction of Dr. S. M. Lindsay, Assistant Professor of Sociology 
at the University of Pennsylvania, and was carefully revised by 
the national Department of Labor at Washington, as well as by 
prominent statisticians in New York and elsewhere. The facts 
here given were collected during a nine-months residence at 
the Philadelphia College Settlement, which is located in the 
heart of one of the most densely populated Negro quarters of 
the city. 

This schedule was used throughout the residence streets of 
the Seventh Ward, and elsewhere in the ward limits wherever 



1 See Appendix A. 



Introduction. 429 

colored domestics were employed. 2 This ward includes among 
its inhabitants all grades of wealth and comfort, from the 
houses with a coachman and coachman's assistant, a butler and 
butler's assistant, and a retinue of female domestics as well, to 
those houses where only one woman is employed, who does 
''general housework," sometimes including not only cooking 
and laundry work, but also the furnace work, removal of ashes, 
"cleaning the front," and other outside work usually delegated 
to a man. And thus, since nearly all degrees of wealth are 
represented in the district investigated — that is to say, from 
the present point of view, all grades of service-employing fami- 
lies — it is probable that all grades of colored domestic service 
have been encountered in this survey. 

In this house to house canvass, every domestic scheduled, 
with a very few exceptions, was personally interviewed. Oc- 
casionally the butler or waiter would answer for the cook, if 
both chanced to have served long in the same family, or 
sometimes the lady of the house would herself supply the 
answers, but in every case, the information given was such as 
to warrant belief in its reliability. To the domestic servants 
personally interviewed in this way, have been added the far 
greater number scheduled by Dr. DuBois in his canvass of the 
homes of the colored people within the ward limits. Alto- 
gether 677 men have been recorded and 161 2 women, making 
a total of 2289 domestics, male and female, either working or 
living in the Seventh Ward. 



For map showing the ward boundaries see page 59. 



II. 



ENUMERATION OF NEGRO DOMESTIC SERVANTS. 

Recent Reform in Domestic Service. — Reform in the ad- 
ministration of the household has been called a ' ' belated 
reform," one that has been so long a time in gaining the ear of 
intelligent people that it must somehow make up for lost 
time and gain a little on other reforms before it can hope to 
come abreast of the progress of the age. In view of the fact 
that college-bred women in greater numbers are assuming 
responsibility for the administration of the household, at the 
same time that reform of domestic service is being agitated, 
it is natural to think that the one thing partly accounts for the 
other. It is certainly true that the question is now for the first 
time being treated scientifically by some of the most intelligent 
women in the country. The Civic Club of Philadelphia, has 
done honorable pioneer work in attempting to establish a 
standard of work and wages for domestic servants, and other 
similar clubs are following in their footsteps. Also, there is 
beginning to be a literature on the subject, best represented by 
Charles Booth's Study of Household Service in the eighth vol- 
ume of his " Life and Labour of the People," and by the admi- 
rable work entitled "Domestic Service" by Miss Lucy M. 
Salmon, Professor of History at Vassar College. In the 
latter work, which is easily the best authority on this much 
discussed but little understood subject, the doctrine of sur- 
vival through adaptation is for the first time applied to the 
economics of the household. One result has been the con- 
viction that much of the friction in the modern household 
arises from its lack of adaptation to the civilization of to-day, 
and will disappear when domestic service gets in line with 
the march of progress and ceases to try to meet modern 
needs by the employment of mediaeval methods. The higher 
is dependent on the lower, and as our social reforms deal 
with the houses and food of the poor for the sake of higher 
things than mere physical well being, so all our reforms must 

(430) 



Enumeration of Negro Domestic Servants. 431 



"begin at the bottom and work up. We may take courage that 
reforms in domestic service and in household economics will 
spread, since they have now ceased to be regarded as impos- 
sibilities, and the problems involved are being fairly faced. 
With the widening of woman's mental horizon, has come 
a realizing sense of the truth regarding household work, that 
"in no other occupation is there so much waste of labor and 
capital, and in no other would a fraction of this waste be over- 
looked." 

This report endeavors to contribute to the problem the 
results of a study of facts concerning the domestic work of 
Negroes in Philadelphia. 

Enumeration. — In presenting these facts, we shall begin 
with an enumeration of Negro domestics. 

The first table shows the number of colored domestic ser- 
vants 3 in the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia by sex and age 
periods: 

TABLE I. 

{Domestic Service. ) 

Number of Colored Domestic Servants in Ward Seven by 
Sex and Age Periods. 



Age. 


Male. 


Female. 


Ten to twenty 


48 

165 

9 


274 
698 

364 
262 




14 


Total 


677 


l6l2 



From this statement it will be seen that of the colored ser- 
vice in the ward about 30 per cent is furnished by men and 70 
per cent by women. In the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia 
there were found to be 9675 colored persons, of whom 2289 
are here seen to be domestic employes, or 23.7 per cent of the 



3 In this study of the condition of the colored people of Philadelphia, 
all persons scheduled as "domestic servants " are connected with private 
establishments, waiters in hotels, etc., being classified with public 
service. 



432 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service, 

total colored population of the ward. It is a little over 30 per 
cent of all the colored wage-earners of the ward. 4 

This per cent in domestic service agrees very nearly with the 
following table taken from the eleventh census, showing the 
proportion of Negro wage-earners engaged in domestic service 
the country over to be 31.4 to the hundred. 5 



Tabi,e from Eleventh Census of the United States Showing 

Percentages of Different Elements of the Population 

Engaged in Different Occupations. 





Native Whites. 
Per cent. 


Foreign Born. 
Per cent. 


Negro. 
Per cent. 


Trade and transportation .... 


5-5 
41.0 
17.0 
22.9 
13.6 


2.2 

25.5 
I4.0 

3L3 
27.O 


I.I 

57-* 
4-7 
5-6 

3i.4 




Total 


100.0 


IOO. O 


100.0 



When public waiters and waitresses in hotels and restaurants, 
as well as janitors and caretakers, are included in the count of 
domestic servants, it brings the ratio up nearly to 41 per cent 
of the whole number of colored wage-earners in the ward. 

After considering what per cent of the colored people are 
domestics, it is interesting to notice what part of domestic ser- 
vice is colored. So we turn from the ratios just given, to con- 
sider what proportion of the total of domestic service in the 
United States is performed by colored people. When we think 
of American domestic service as a whole, we have a more or 



4 The 2289 domestics which constitute 34 per cent of the 661 1 Negroes 
in the Seventh Ward engaged in gainful occupations are those actually 
investigated in the special inquiry into domestic service. The number 
may not include all the domestics in the ward and does not include 
many classes of persons enumerated under "domestic and personal ser- 
vice" in the table on page 108 of this volume. 

5 Domestic service is classified in the census under " personal service," 
and includes persons classified elsewhere in this investigation, such as 
hotel proprietors, but the number of Negroes thus included is small, and 
the error of comparison, therefore, small. 



Enumeration of Negro Domestic Servants. 433 

less clear conception of a great army of the colored race in the 
south, of the Irish and Germans in the north, of the Swedes 
in the middle west, and of the Chinese on the Pacific Coast. 
The census of 1890 gives the relative numbers of native white, 
foreign white and colored (including Chinese) domestic em- 
ployes in the United States as follows: 

Elements of the Population Engaged in Domestic Service. 
{From the Eleventh Census of the United States.) 





Number. 


Per cent. 


Geographical Section. 


Native 
White. 


Foreign 
White. 


Colored. 


Native 
White. 


For'gn 
White. 


Col'd. 










37-58 

39-n 

44.7i 
59-98 

31-65 
16.77 

41.65 


35.83 
55-22 
44.62 

33-11 

6.62 
3.IO 

29.55 


f26.59 

5.67 

10.67 

6.91 

61.73 
80.13 










Middle* 


176,194 


175,819 


42,049 


Border (near the Ma- 
































28 80 













* Includes New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. 

fThis term includes also Chinese who are reckoned in the census as " colored." 



These figures attribute nearly 29 per cent of the domestic 
service of the country to the colored, who comprise only 12^ 
per cent of the population. 

The colored perform about three times as much domestic 
service in proportion to their numbers as the whites do. From 
this it will be seen that while the study of domestic service in 
any consideration of the condition of the colored people is 
important, the study of the Negro domestic is equally impor- 
tant in any careful consideration of the domestic service prob- 
lem. It will be noticed that the per cents for the middle sec- 
tion Gf States show only 10.67 P er cen t °f the domestic service 
performed by colored people. The large urban populations 
of the New York cities doubtless reduce this below what it 
would be if only Pennsylvania and New Jersey were consid- 
ered, as city servants are mostly drawn from our foreign white 
population, but if the rate be accepted as true for the city of 
28 



434 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

Philadelphia (though it is doubtless much too low for a city 
which has the largest colored population of any city in the 
United States, except New Orleans and Washington), if it be 
accepted for Philadelphia, where 4 per cent of the population 
is colored, we shall find that the Negro domestics "run ahead 
of their ticket ' ' here also in this matter of household service. 
The probable reason for this disproportion is not far to seek 
when we remember the unpopularity of domestic service which 
keeps whites out, and reflect that the colored prejudice which 
is known to operate against the Negro in nearly all depart- 
ments of labor excepting drudgery, actually works in his favor in 
the matter of domestic service, where the competence of Negro 
waiters and the superior skill of Negro cooks is generally ad- 
mitted. Hence, Negro labor, following the line of least resist- 
ance, flows in enlarged streams into the channel of domestic 
service. 



III. 



SOURCES OF THE SUPPLY AND METHODS OF HIRING. 



The question next arises as to the chief sources of Philadel- 
phia's large supply of colored service. Are these people 
Southern Negroes, or Philadelphia born ? The quality of ser- 
vice rendered and the standard of excellence may depend in 
some degree upon circumstances of birth and training. Hence 
the facts in regard to nativity as shown in Table II, which fol- 
lows, are worth considering: 

TABLE II. 

Nativity of Colored Domestic Servants in Philadelphia. 

Number and Per Cent by Sex and Birthplace. 



Birthplace. 



Philadelphia . . . . 
Pennsylvania . . . . 

New Jersey 

Delaware 

Maryland 

Virginia 

West Virginia . . . . 
District of Columbia 
North Carolina . . . 
South Carolina . . , 

Georgia 

South Georgia . . , 
West Georgia . . . , 

Ohio 

Missouri , 

Kentucky . . . . , 

Tennessee . . . ; 
Louisiana ...... 

Mississippi . . . . , 

Alabama , 

West Indies . . . . , 
New York . . . . 

Maine 

Massachusetts . . 
Connecticut ... 
Rhode Island ... 
North Rhode Island 

Canada 

Florida 

Texas 

Hungary 

Scotland 

South America . . 
Unknown .... 

Total 



Number of 


Number of 


Total 


Males. 


Females. 


Number. 


78 


215 


293 


37 


94 


131 


18 


50 


68 


34 


99 


133 


102 


359 


461 


199 


439 


638 


5 


14 


19 


50 


85 


135 


36 


68 


104 


7 


5 


12 


4 


11 


15 


28 


5i 


79 


2 


3 


5 





5 


5 





2 


2 





1 


1 


2 


4 


6 


1 


2 


3 





2 


2 


2 


2 


4 


15 


4 


19 


8 


10 


18 


1 


1 


2 


5 


2 


7 


1 


4 


5 


2 





2 





1 


1 


1 


2 


3 


2 





2 





2 


2 





1 


1 





1 


1 





1 


1 


37 


72 


109 


677 


1612 


2289 



Total 
Per cent. 



8 } 18.52 
5.o8 



5.72 
3- 



5.90 
4.50 



3-9o 



(435) 



436 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

These facts show clearly that the greater part of Philadel- 
phia's colored domestic service is supplied from Maryland and 
Virginia, particularly from the latter State. It will be noticed 
that less than one-fifth of it (18.5 percent) is supplied from 
Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania, while very nearly 
one-half (48.4 percent) comes from the two States of Maryland 
and Virginia. Some interesting indications in regard to nativ- 
ity and quality of service as measured by length of service 
with the same employer, are brought out later in Table 
XXV. 

Methods of Hiring. — Philadelphia is as much at the mercy 
of employment bureaus, and the frequently untrustworthy 
recommendations of previous employers, as are other large 
cities. Yet these and the method of advertising are the only 
ways open to the employer for accomplishing what has been 
called the " inevitable annual change of employes." The col- 
ored people in domestic service seldom seek employment through 
the Philadelphia intelligence offices or by applying in answer 
to advertisement unless it is particularly stated that colored 
help is acceptable or preferred. They generally offer the recom- 
mendations of former employers, though many of them, seldom 
the best ones, offer their services from door to door and are 
employed upon the recommendation of personal appearance and 
general bearing. The colored man's avoidance of the employ- 
ment bureau is largely due to the fact that extortionate fees 
are usually charged him. He patronizes a few bureaus kept 
by colored people whom he trusts ; and his unwillingness to 
answer advertisements needs no explanation but the remark 
already offered. 

Personnel of Colored Domestic Service. — In regard to 
the personnel of domestic service, the facts in Philadelphia cor- 
respond with those for all employes the world over ; Negro 
domestic servants are for the most part women rather than men, 
and young rather than middle-aged or old people. An examina- 
tion of Table I will show that only about 30 in 100 of Philadel- 
phia's colored domestics are men, while a study of the census 
figures of 1890 shows only 16 men in 100 in domestic service 
the country over; and the disproportion in English household 
service is even greater, there being only 7 men in 100 Lon- 
don servants. The sexes thus engaged in domestic work in 



Sources of Supply and Methods of Hiring, 437 



Philadelphia, in the United States and in I,ondon are here 
compared in tabular form: 

TABLE III. 
Sex in Domestic Service of Different Localities Compared. 



Locality. 



Colored Domestic Service in Philadelphia 

Domestic Service in United States (eleventh census) 

Domestic Service in London (Charles Booth, Vol. 

8, P- 211) 




Female. 
Per cent. 



70.4 
84.2 

93-3 



A comparison of the two columns shows very clearly that 
domestic work which has long been considered as " women's 
work ' ' is still being done largely by women. A comparison 
of the items of the first column of Table II with each other 
shows that, taking the country over, where the domestic service 
is represented largely by Irish, German, English, Swedish and 
Norwegian elements as well as Negroes, the proportion of men 
servants falls to only about one-half that of colored men ser- 
vants in Philadelphia. This again is probably to be accounted 
for by the fact that so many avenues of employment which are 
closed to colored men are open to men among the white 
foreign element which makes up the greater part of American 
service. In our shops and markets and in our building trades, 
on our trolley cars and our delivery wagons we see Irish and 
German and Swedish men, but no Negroes. The result upon 
domestic service of this closing of so many doors to the colored 
man is twofold. Many of them, being unable to better them- 
selves financially by leaving service for other employments, 
remain in household work much longer than they otherwise 
would do, and when they marry many of them " turn waiter" 
because household service is one of the best paid employments 
open to the blacks. Thus colored men servants tend to remain 
in service longer than whites do and the frequent addition to 
their ranks, of married colored men also tends to increase the 
ratio of men servants among Negro domestics as well as to 
raise the average age. 

Next to the small number of men in domestic service and the 
fact that a greater proportion of colored than of white men are 



43 8 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

domestics, a study of the personnel of domestic service reveals 
peculiarities concerning the age of servants. Nearly all house- 
hold servants are comparatively young. This has been found 
to be true everywhere, where records have been made, and 
more especially among whites than among blacks. The colored 
people in service are older on the average than the whites (as 
would be expected from facts just given). Nearly one-half 
of all the colored domestics in the Seventh Ward of Phila- 
delphia, both men and women, are included in the age period 
between twenty-one and thirty years as may be seen by refer- 
ence to Table I. The average age among them is 31.9 years 
for the men, and 29.6 for the women, the combined average for 
both sexes being 30.3 years. This shows that Philadelphia's 
colored domestics are comparatively young people, but an ex- 
amination of the age of London servants shows also 30.5 years 
as the average age of the men and 28.2 years as the average 
age of the women in service there. While the United States 
Census of 1890 shows men servants the country over to average 
29.1 years, the women average only 26.8 years. These average 
ages are given in tabular form for convenience of comparison. 



TABLE IV. 

Average Age in Domestic Service of Different Localities 

Compared. 



Locality. 


Male. 
Aver. Age. 


Female. 
Aver. Age. 


Colored Domestic Service in Philadelphia ... 
General Domestic Service in London (computed 

General Domestic Service in United States (com- 
puted from eleventh census) 


3i-9 
30-5 
29.1 


29.6 
28.2 
26.8 



Sources of Stipply and Methods of Hiring. 439 



diU 






/\ 
























260 






' \ 


























/ 


1 
























250 




• 


1 


























I 


\ 
























240 






1 






































Diagram A. 

English Domestic Service. 
Diagram Showing Ages of Persons 
Engaged in Household Serviced of the 
Whole of occupied London (Males) 

Dom. Service 


230 








\ 














\ 








220 








\ 














\ 








210 








t 














\ 








200 








\ 














\ 








190 








\ 














\ 








180 








\ 


























WHOLE OF OCCUPIED LONDON. 


170 








\ 1 


















\ 




















160 










S\ 






















( / 






>\ 
























M 


























150 




u 


























I4Q 




1 






VI 




























\ 




















130 












l\ 


















1 










\ \ 


















i?n 










































\ 
















. 


110 


1 










\ 


















I! 


























100 


1 








\ 


















il' 










V 
















90 


' 












\ 
















l 












\ 
















80 


/ 












> 














. 


'/ 












s 
















70 


1/ 














\ 














1 














\ 














60 
















\ 














/ 














\ 














50 


1/ 














\ 


< 












If 
















N 












40 


















\ 




























> 


s h 










30 




















s 




























v 










20 






















^-. 




























**> 


» 






10 
























>*, 
































^, 




n 































10 15 20 25 3Q 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 SO, 

Taken from Booth's " Life and Labour of the People," Vol. 8, p. 211. 



44-0 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 




Diagram B. 

Showing AGES of Persons 

Engaged in Domestic Service in 

the U.S.and Ages of the Whole 

No. of Wage Earners in theU.S.(MALES) 

Dom. Service 

All Wage Earners 



10 



15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 



Sources of Supply and Methods of Hiring, 441 



360 
350 
340 
330 






1 

1 

—4 


t 

\ 

i — 
\ 










ntAr.DAM C. 






320 








\ 








Showing the Ages of Colored Men 
Engaged in Dom.Service in7*Ward 
of Philadelphia/Ages of allColored 
Male Wage Earners in SameWard 

— » — Dom.Service 










V 


X 






310 








v 
















1 








300 








V 








290 








l \ 














v \ 














l 1 


\ \ 








280 






I I 


\ 








270 






-4-| 


\ 


\ 






— - AllColored Male Wage Earners 


260 










4 

-\ — 


















, 


250 




p. 






v\ 


















~* — "* ~ "~ 


1 






























240 










\\ 






























\\ 


















1 


230 


































1/ 
























220 




1/ 
























210 






H 
































v 






























1 




















200 




























190 






. 


































\ X, 


















180 










































•v 














































170 






























160 


























































150 


























































140 


























































130 


























































120 


















* 








































iiq 


























































100 


























































90 


























































;eo 


























































70 
































| 


























fin 




1 
























































50 


























































40 




























































30 




























1 
































20 
















































* 












10" 


























































































10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 



442 Special Report o?i Negro Domestic Service. 

But while these are average ages, the very great excess of 
the younger age periods over the older ones may be more clearly 
seen by the diagrams A, B and C, contrasting the ages of 
domestic men servants with the ages of all other male wage 
earners. Diagram A shows these differences of age, as exhib- 
ited in London, between men in household service and all of 
occupied London. Diagram B shows the contrast as it exists 
between men servants in the United States and all the occupied 
men in the total population. Diagram C contrasts ages of col- 
ored male servants in the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia and 
those of all occupied colored males in that ward. What these 
three maps mean is that the ratio which the young men in 
domestic service bear to the whole number of men in domestic 
service is greater (by as much as the diagram indicates in each 
case) than the ratio which the young men in all occupations 
bear to the whole number of men in all occupations. In Lon- 
don, according to Mr. Booth's diagram, there is an excess of 
youth in service between ages of fifteen and thirty-three, after 
which age the males in household work fall behind those 
otherwise occupied. In America, according to diagram B, 6 the 
excess of young men in service begins at fifteen, lasting till 
nearly the age of thirty-nine, after which the proportion of men 
in service is less than that of men otherwise occupied. In the 
Seventh Ward of Philadelphia, according to diagram C, we 
notice an interesting variation from the comparatively close 
agreement of diagrams A and B. The greatest excess of youth 
in service, here, as in A and B, is also at about twenty-three 
to twenty-five years, but diagram C seems to show that in 
Negro wage-earning in cities, the disproportionately large 
number of men in domestic service holds good for every age 
except that period which marks a man's greatest physical 
strength, the period between thirty and forty years. The ex- 
cess of colored men of that age in other occupations is no 
doubt due to the large number of colored men of great physi- 
cal strength who act as stevedores, porters, etc., between the 
ages of thirty and forty. The sudden bend at thirty-five in 
the domestic service line, in diagram C, is due to the fact that 
the last age period recorded was " forty-one years and over," 



6 Computed on census figures and after Mr. Booth's method. 



Sources of Sttpply and Methods of Hiring. 443 

and, therefore, includes a few old servants about sixty. If 
each decade had been recorded, the curve would be more 
gradual, perhaps crossing the other between forty and forty- 
five. The excess of sixty-seven points on the forty-five-year 
line is almost equal to the excess at twenty-five years, and is, 
therefore, probably in need of modification, though there is little 
doubt of its indicating a real condition of Negro labor in 
cities. 

The fact that the highest point of excess of youth in these 
three diagrams is reached at twenty-three to twenty-five years 
is significant, and suggests the query why it is that domestic 
service so clearly attracts the young of both sexes and of all 
races. It is safe to say that one of the most prominent deter- 
mining causes is necessity for immediate income. Many 
young men and women are obliged by circumstances to under- 
take some form of work which, while requiring no capital and 
no particular course of training, still yields an immediate 
return, which is certain to provide them at least their board 
and lodging, with a small amount for living expenses. This 
is the chief reason why the first employment of young men 
and women just beginning to support themselves is so often 
11 going out to service." 



IV. 

GRADES OF SERVICE AND WAGES. 

In his study of household service in the eighth volume of 
" Life and Labour of the People," Mr. Charles Booth distin- 
guishes three grades or divisions among women in domestic 
service. The lowest group is made up of those employed in 
the "roughest single-handed places.", The next group is 
made up of those in single-handed places, but of a better class; 
while the third group " includes those employed in many mid- 
dle class homes and in the large establishments of the wealthy, 
it being scarcely possible to make any practical division 
between these two classes of servants." Each group merges 
imperceptibly into the next above it, so that it is practically 
impossible to separate them in statistical enumeration. If 
another grade be supplied between the second and third given 
here — a grade found in well-to-do Philadelphia families, where 
two women servants are employed — this grading of London 
service applies very fairly to the condition of colored service 
in Philadelphia. A considerable number of families in Phila- 
delphia employ but one woman servant, and hire no extra help 
to do laundry work, house cleaning or outside work. The one 
woman does the "cooking, washing, ironing, and drags up all 
the ashes, tends furnace, cleans the front, and does every sin- 
gle thing " — as one woman put her own case. A second sort 
of household has only one domestic, but also hires extra ser- 
vice for laundry work, etc. Then follows the large number of 
houses where two women servants are kept, cook and ' ' second 
girl," sometimes with and sometimes without the weekly 
extra service; and finally, the establishments with many 
domestics, each having his or her own special duties. The 
only classification of househould servants which is at all prac- 
ticable in this inquiry, is that into sub-occupations or special- 
ized kinds of work resulting from division of labor within 
domestic service. Such a classification of colored domestic 
service in Philadelphia shows seven sub- divisions of the work 
engaging the labor of men servants, while there are no fewer 
than twelve in which women are employed. These are here 
given in tabulated form: 

(444) 



Grades of Service and Wages. 



445 



TABLE V. 

Sub-occupations in Philadelphia Domestic Service (Seventh 

Ward) by Number and Sex. 



Male. 



Bell and errand boys, etc. . . 23 

Butler 109 

Coachman 76 

Waiter 387 

Cook 47 

Valet 4 

General work 31 



Female. 



Bell and errand girls, etc. . . 34 

Child's nurse •. . 2\ 

Chambermaid 114 

Waitress 44 

Waitress and chambermaid . 22 

Lady's maid 4 

Laundress 25 



Cook 

Cook and laundress .... 
Chambermaid and laundress 

"Janitress" 

General housework .... 



365 
8 
6 

A 

965 



Work Required of Various Sub-occupations. — The work 
usually assigned to each of these sub-classes is known in a gen- 
eral way by everyone. In one of the appendices to her book 
on " Domestic Service," Miss Salmon publishes a circular letter 
from one of the committees of the Philadelphia Civic Club to the 
members of the club, submitting standards of work and wages 
for the various classes of sub-occupations among domestic 
servants. A single paragraph may be quoted, which gives the 
duties of one sub-occupation minutely and accurately, though 
all sorts of cross-classifications occur in practice, the waitress 
often being also chambermaid or laundress: 

"Waitresses at $3.00 or $3.50 per week; must understand 
care of dining-room, of silver, glass and china; care and atten- 
tion in waiting on table, care of parlor and halls and answer- 
ing the doorbell properly. ' ' 

The requirements for cooks, laundresses, chambermaids, 
nurses, etc., are given with equal accuracy of detail, but this 
is so generally understood that it is not necessary to dwell on 
the point here. The term "janitress" may need a word of 
explanation; this was what the hall servant and generally use- 
ful domestic at a large private boarding school called herself, 
and there were several others who seemed best classed with 
her. The duties of the butler in many cases extend to those 
of steward, and he is often to a large degree responsible for the 
selection and purchase of the food materials used in his 
particular establishment. The colored butler thus honorably 



446 Special Report on Negro Do?nestic Service. 

commissioned, generally styles himself ''butler and steward," 
though he has not, in any case thus far personally encountered, 
the responsibility of engaging and paying the other servants, 
as is the case with the English steward. The Philadelphia 
use of the word is evidently a modification of the English 
term and bears a quite different significance. 

The wages paid for these services vary in accordance with 
many modifying influences, as will be shown. Domestic ser- 
vice, however, is generally acknowledged to be well paid, as 
compared with other occupations which are open to women. 
A cook receiving $4.50 a week, the average pay in Boston, can 
save as much in a year as the average teacher in American 
public schools, as is shown by a comparison of the average 
teacher's salary, based on 6512 records, 7 and the statement is 
made on the authority of cashiers of banks in factory towns, 
that domestics as a class save more than do factory hands. The 
question of the savings of colored domestics is treated in the 
latter part of this report. 

Table VI, which follows, shows the range of wages paid to 
men in the various sub-divisions of colored domestic service and 
also the average wage in each class of service. This table and 
Table VII represent the statements of the workers themselves 
in regard to their earnings. 

TABLE VI. 

Range of Wages and Average Wages of Colored Men Ser- 
vants in Philadelphia. 



Sub-occupation . 



Bell-boy, etc. 
Butler . . . 
Coachman . 
Waiter . . . 
Cook .... 
Valet . . . 
General work 



Range of Wages. 



5l OO— $4. 50 



25— 13 50 
00 — 14 00 



00- 
00- 



8 00 
15 00 
00 — 10 00 
10 00 



00- 



Average 
Weekly Wage.* 



$2 6l 

8 24 
8 58 
6 14 
6 17 
8 00 
5 38 



♦Computed on basis of reports from all individuals interviewed belonging to each 
sub-occupation . 

t The figures given indicate the lowest and highest wages reported in each class, as 
reported by those interviewed in a canvass of 616 individuals in the Seventh Ward, 
Philadelphia. 



L,. M. Salmon, "Domestic Service," p. 99. 



Grades of Service and Wages. 



447 



The figures here given of course represent the weekly pay for 
the services classified; but such sums as$i.oo as the weekly 
pay for the service of a cook, or $2.00 as that of a waiter 
should be recognized as unusual and as recording facts which 
are far from typical, which represent the extreme of underpay 
offered only under extraordinary circumstances, probably to a 
young and inexperienced boy or to an aged or otherwise ineffi- 
cient cook. 

Table VII gives the same set of facts in regard to the earn- 
ings of women servants: 



TABLE VII. 

Range; of Wages and Average Wages oe 
Servants in Philadelphia 



Colored Women 



Sub-occupation. 



Errand girls, etc 

Child's nurse 

Chambermaid 

Waitress 

Waitress and chambermaid 

Lady's maid 

Laundress 

Cook 

Cook and laundress .... 
Chambermaid and laundress 

Janitress 

General work 



Range of Wages. 



OO — 

So- 
So- 
00 — 
SO- 
SO- 
SO— 
50— 

25— 
00 — 
00 — 



$2 50 
10 00 
00 
00 

50 
00 
00 



4 
4 
3 
4 
7 

10 00 
5 00 

4 00 
7 00 

5 00 



Average Weekly.f 



52 OO 



35 
17 
31 
17 
63 
04 
02 
OO 

58 

06 
24 



* That is to say, ' ' living and tips 



a liui. AO wv/ oc*jr , 11V *"& o.aa\a 11^0. 

f The average is the actual average for all cases recorded. 



These two tables show that in domestic service, as in every 
other department of the economic world, it is the office of skill 
or of trust which is the best paid. The offices of skill and trust 
among the men are those of butler and valet, or trusted per- 
sonal attendant. Frequently the coachman is also butler. 
Comparison of the average pay of butlers with that of waiters 
or general work of ' ' utility men, ' ' as they are called, shows very 
clearly the higher pay for skilled work. Men-cooks' wages are 
here seen to be low in comparison with the butlers' or coachmen's, 
— this for several reasons: first, because in so small a number 
as were encountered one man receiving only $1.00 brings down 
the average appreciably; further, because in the wealthiest 



448 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

establishments almost no men-cooks were encountered. The 
majority of men-cooks reporting were employed in boarding 
houses, where presumably the pay was not allowed for on a 
lavish scale; but, finally and chiefly, wages of men-cooks are 
lower because a man servant who is a cook practically com- 
petes with the woman-cook. The services of an excellent 
woman can be gotten for $4.50 or $5.00, while no woman 
can take the place of a butler or coachman; hence butlers' 
wages are not affected by woman's competition. Doubtless 
the same tendency operates to lower the wages of waiters, now 
that such capable waitresses can be obtained. The same ten- 
dency is noticeable in England, where Mr. Booth says the but- 
ler is " giving place to the neat parlor-maid." In Table VII, 
showing women's wages, the skilled specialists are cooks and 
laundresses, while the office of trust is held by the janitress, 
and these are seen to head the list in the matter of pay, being 
the only women domestics who receive on the average more 
than $4.00. The Boston Employment Bureau publishes a list 8 
showing the same thing. The average wages of cooks in 
Boston is given as $4.45, while chambermaids receive $3.86, 
waitresses $3.76, second girls $3.34 and general servants $3.16. 
The factotum, who does everything from cooking to furnace 
work and house cleaning, is evidently not considered a skilled 
hand, nor paid as such. 

Secondly, these two tables also show clearly a very large dif- 
ference between the pay of men and of women in domestic 
service; the men receiving on the average close upon 100 per 
cent more than the women. Miss Salmon's averages, 9 showing 
the wages of men and of women domestics throughout the 
country, are $167.96 yearly for women and $373.36 yearly 
for men. The difference here is more than 100 per cent. 
These figures, therefore, emphasize this difference between 
men's pay and women's pay, showing that men servants are 
generally paid more than double the wages which women 
accept. 

Are wages in domestic service affected by race or color ? 
How do theory and practice agree in this matter of wages ? 



8 L. M. Salmon, " Domestic Service," p. 90. 

9 L. M. Salmon, "Domestic Service," p. 88, or see Table X, following. 



Grades of Service and Wages. 



449 



How nearly does the wage which ought to be paid agree 
with the actual average pay of domestics? A comparison 
of the figures given in Table VII, with the standard 
of wages suggested by the ladies of the Philadelphia Civic 
Club in the letter already quoted, is interesting as showing the 
close agreement between pay which the best intelligence of 
the city believes to be just and the actual average wages of 
Philadelphia domestics. The following table compares these 
average wages with the Civic Club estimates: 



TABLE VIII. 

Comparison of u Theoretical Wages" with Actual Wages of 
Domestics in Philadelphia. 



Cooks . . . 

Waitresses . . 
Chambermaids 
Child's nurse 
Laundress . . 
Seamstress . » 

or 
Lady's maid . 



} 



Civic Club Estimate. 



At $3 50 or 
" 3 00 " 
" 300" 
" 300" 
" 3 5o" 

" 3 5o c< 



54 00 per week. 
3 5o " " 
3 5o " " 

3 5o " " 

400 " 

400 " 



Actual Average Wage 
of Colored Domestics. 



02 
31 
17 
35 
04 



3 63 



This agreement points to the probability that among women 
in domestic service at least, there is no difference between 
"white pay and black pay," however much of it there may be 
in other departments of work in Philadelphia ; for the Civic 
Club estimate is given for the whole field of service, white as 
well as black. Among men servants, however, there probably 
is a variation in wages determined largely by color. This first 
became evident on Rittenhouse Square, 10 where the colored 
butlers encountered were receiving on the average $36.90 
monthly — (a slightly better wage than that of the Seventh 
Ward employes doing the same work), while the white but- 
lers, according to the statement of one of their number, " gene- 
rally get $40.00 to $45.00 a month in the houses that keep one 
man. Where there are two men — two white men — the first 



10 Rittenhouse Square is not in the Seventh Ward, but being probably 
the most fashionable quarter of the city, was investigated for purposes of 
comparison. 

29 



450 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

may get $50.00 and the second $45.00 ; but there are not many 
houses that pay $50.00." " 

The variation in pay of colored and white butlers is probably 
partly due then to the fact already stated that there are rela- 
tively fewer white than colored men in service ; thus giving 
different ratios of supply and demand for white and colored 
men servants. But the matter of fashion counts much. It 
doubtless has more influence in determining the pay of an 
employee, who is as much in evidence as is the butler or coach- 
man, than it has in fixing the pay of an " invisible employee " 
like the cook. The question of personal appearance and fashion 
holds also as between different grades of white employees, as 
will be seen from Mr. Booth's statements, that in London " a 
second footman of five feet six inches would command ^20 to 
,£22, while one of five feet ten inches or six feet would not take 
under ^28 or £30. Again, a short first footman could not 
expect more than ^30, while a tall man would command 
^32 to ^40." The same principle operating in Philadelphia 
often obliges colored men, like short footmen in London, to take 
what they can get. There is a relatively smaller demand for 
them for these two reasons, and so their pay varies from white 
men's pay, while among the women those cooks and maids, 
who are the most skillful, are in greatest demand ; so that 
color makes less difference in the women's wages. 

Does "imported service" affect wages of colored domes- 
tic servants in Philadelphia ? There can be little doubt that in 
household service, where hardly anything else could have 
affected their secure hold on at least this one branch of employ- 
ment, fashion has militated against the colored people of Phila- 
delphia. A Spruce street colored butler said, ' ' What are you 

11 The remainder of this conversation gives a side light on the reason 
for this difference in men's wages. The investigator, seeing this butler 
was communicative, said, " The colored butlers get less than that, I sup- 
pose you know, only $30 or $35, and a few get $40. Don't you think 
they make as good or better butlers and waiters than you white men do ?" 
He laughed and said, "Yes, they're better at that than we are, and " — 
in a half-confidential, half-amused tone — " they aren't so lazy as we are. 
We're lazy, but they are always anxious to please, and they work harder 
'an we do." " Well, why don't they get the same pay, then ?" "Well," 
he said, stiffening, " but even if they do, you don't expect a white man 
is going to work for what a nigger will take. You can't expect that." 



Grades of Service and Wages. 



451 



going to do when you're shut out of your work? I don't 
know no other country. I was born here. The colored are 
shut out more than when I come to Philadelphia in '65. The 
foreigners shut us out of even our ordinary work we've always 
done in service. I don't know why ; because the colored 
people are just as good help as they ever was. And the worst 
is it throws them into the slums when they can't get their work. 
I've been praying the Lord to help our people," etc. A white 
butler on Rittenhouse Square sums up the situation from what 
might be called the impersonal point of view: " You see they 
(the employers) go to Europe and bring home Englishmen, 
and that knocks out 'the Negro." Many colored women — 
natives — say that it is harder now than formerly to get good 
places, because there are so many more white girls — foreigners — 
seeking household work. 

It is difficult to reduce to figures information on this point, 
but the following enumeration which shows the distribution of 
colored service with reference to the fashionable quarter seems 
to confirm the opinions of the butlers quoted, or at least to 
indicate that the people who employ the greatest number of 
servants employ fewer colored people than are to be found in 
plainer establishments. 

TABLE IX. 
Distribution of Colored Service with Reference to the 

Fashionable Quarter. 





Seven Blocks East of Broad Street. 


Seven Blocks West of Broad Street. 


On 

Spruce 
Street. 


106 domestics, or 65 per cent 
of all colored domestic 
servants on Spruce Street. 


58 domestics, or 35 per cent of 
all colored domestic ser- 
vants on Spruce Street. 


On 

Pine 
Street. 


99 domestics, or 58 per cent 
of all colored domestic 
servants on Pine Street. 


71 domestics, or 42 per cent of 
all colored domestic ser- 
vants on Pine Street. 



The smaller number of colored domestics employed in the 
fashionable section is noticeable both on Pine and Spruce 
streets, the number to the east of Broad on Spruce being very 
nearly double that in the more fashionable region to the west. 
The greater divergence of the ratios east and west is where we 
should expect it in accordance with the butler's theory — that 



452 



Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 



is on Spruce, the more fashionable street. 12 On the whole, it 
seems probable that the fashion of importing English and 
French service has an appreciable effect in the direction of 
complicating Philadelphia's Negro problem. 

" Importation " from the butler's point of view is easily ex- 
plained. The willingness of English butlers to come to 
America is doubtless largely, indeed almost wholly, due to the 
fact that their absolute money wages are so much higher here 
than in England. Few of them are political economists enough 
to realize that $600 in America may be worth only half that 
sum in England. So glittering an offer as that of ''double 
his present salary," is eagerly accepted by the majority of 
Englishmen of a certain grade of intelligence and this has 
quite definite results upon the domestic service of our large 
cities in America. 

In the table which follows, the annual money wages of 
domestic servants in London are contrasted with the general 
yearly average wages for men's and women's work in thirty- 
seven of our States and also with the wages of colored domestic 

servants in Philadelphia. 

TABLE X. 

Tabi<e Comparing Engush and American "Money Wages." 

{Annual Amounts Over and Above Board and Lodging.) 



Sub-occupation. 


IyOndon. * 


Colored Domestics 
in Philadelphia. 


United States.f 


Philadelphia. 


( Gen'l Servant 
Women. < Housemaid 

1 Cook 

f Errand boy . . . 

Men. ■< Footm'n, Coach'n 

(Butler 


$77 50 

82 50 

109 50 

55 00 
175 00 

300 00 


$168 48 
164 84 
209 04 

135 72 

446 16 
("428 48 (Colored) 
"[540 00 (White) 


Average 
women's 
wages, 
$167 96. 
Average 
men's 
wages, 
$373 36 


Average 

woman's 
wages, 
$179 92. 

Average 
colored 
men's 
wages, 

$335 40 



* Charles Booth, Vol. viii, pp. 217 and 223. 
f Salmon, " Domestic Service," p; 28. 



12 In corroboration of this belief that colored men are displaced by im- 
ported English and foreign men servants comes the statement made to 
the investigator by the business manager of the Continental Hotel. He 
says that the Continental, which at the change of seasons often adds at 
one time as many as thirty colored waters and bellmen to its force, "can 
always get as many colored waiters as are wanted at a few hours' notice,'* 
which certainly indicates that there are many unemployed colored men 
in Philadelphia who are anxious to work but are crowded out in the 
supply and demand adjustments. 



Grades of Service and Wages. 453 

The comparison here offered shows that in the most of the 
sub-occupations of domestic service the actual sums paid are 
twice as large in America as in London. 

The range of wages in England as given by Mr. Booth, also 
strengthens the belief that American wages must sound very 
large to English ears. " The actual wages earned," says Mr. 
Booth, on page 217 of his eighth volume, " begin as low as one 
shilling a week, this amount being received in three cases (out 
of a total of 1692 servants), while forty- two more were paid 
less than ^5 per annum — at the other end of the scale we find 
three servants all over thirty years old, receiving from ^26 to 
^36 a year, three more receiving ^20 and ^39, others re- 
ceiving from ^15 to ^20." To an American this sounds far 
from lavish although it is of course impossible to know how 
much this money is worth until we know the cost of staple 
articles in London. Still to a servant who has been receiving 
even ^36 a year ($180), our highest women's wage ($520 yearly) 
would doubtless present remarkable attractions. 

Do board and lodging enter into, or affect, wages? A 
comparison of the items of Table X shows a very large dif- 
ference between the pay of American men servants and 
American women servants. This seems hardly to be accounted 
for by the fact that a much larger per cent of women in domes- 
tic service than of men receive board and lodging in addition 
to wages. Miss Salmon's investigation estimates that only 60 
per cent of the men servants receive board and lodging while 
98 per cent of the women do. 

In the Philadelphia investigation the facts upon this point 
seem to indicate that the amount of wages is only slightly 
affected, if at all, by the question of board and lodging. When 
these are given in addition to wages they apparently do not 
stand, in the mind of either employer or domestic, as part pay- 
ment for service. A comparison of the pay of women -cooks 
who lodge at their place of work, with that of women-cooks 
who lodge at home will illustrate this. The average pay of 
those who lodge at their place of work and therefore receive 
board and lodging in addition to wages, is $4.13 as contrasted 
with $3.95 received by those who go home at night. Here the 
difference will be seen to be in the opposite direction from what 
we should expect if board and lodging are reckoned as part of 



454 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

the wages of cooks. The same facts hold good for the other 
sub-occupations among colored domestic servants in the ward, 
which would seem to indicate that in Philadelphia, at least board 
and lodging are customarily given or not according as it suits 
the convenience or the preference of mistress or maid, but are 
not, except rarely, considered a part of the wages paid for 
service. Many employers doubtless believe that the service 
rendered by girls who lodge in their place of work is better, 
and they may perhaps consider the board and lodging given, 
as added pay for better quality of service. Be this as it may, 
the actual money wages do not appear to be affected by it in 
Philadelphia, where, as will be seen by the following table, 
only 50 per cent of the colored women in service and only 24 
per cent of the colored men lodge at their employers' establish- 
ments. 

TABLE XI. 

Number and Per Cent of Colored Domestic Servants, by Sex, 
in Seventh Ward, Who Lodge at Place of Work. 



Lodging Place. 


Male. 


Fe 


MALE. 


No. 


Per Cent. 


No. 


Per Cent. 


At employers' house 


38 
Il8 


24.4 
75-6 


207 
20I 


50.7 
49-3 


Total 


156 


IOO. O 


408 


I OO.O 







To the thoughtful and thrifty colored domestic this ought to 
suggest an easy way of saving a good bit for the ' ' old folks at 
home ' ' if they can only see it that way, for they reduce the 
home expenses both for meals and for rent in many cases, by 
lodging at place of work, while they themselves receive the 
same money wages and very likely higher ones, whether their 
board and lodging comes out of their employer or is drawn 
from their own home circle. 

The majority of the single colored girls in service board and 
lodge in their employers' establishments ; only 38.7 per cent 
of them going home at night, while most of the married 
women in service, as is natural, do go home from work, only 
27.5 per cent of them lodging in the employers' house. Of 



Grades of Service and Wages. 455 

the men reporting in regard to lodging place 29 per cent of the 
single men sleep at their places of work, while 71 per cent 
have lodgings elsewhere. Of the married men only 17.6 per 
cent lodge at the place of work while 82.4 per cent lodge at 
home. 



V. 

SAVINGS AND EXPENDITURE. 

The question of the savings of Seventh Ward domestics 
would naturally be discussed here. Table XII shows the 
facts upon this point. It is based upon the records of those 
who have been personally interviewed. In this table the 
"societies " referred to are either sick benefit, death benefit, or 
insurance societies, which are all very popular with the colored 
people. Their tendency to use this method of saving rather 
than to deposit in the bank is shown in many ways. They 
frequently express their distrust of banks and banking. One 
girl sums up her philosophy by saying, " I save in my pocket. 
I'm a very poor spender, but I bank a little too, only the banks 
are so shaky I'm afraid of them. A friend of mine lost $600 
in the Keystone and I lost $100 and came near putting in 
$50.00 just the day before the bank broke. Yes, I'm afraid of 
banks." A waiter working on Spruce near Broad says, "I've 
quit banking. I lost $300 in the Keystone." This distrust 
of banks is traced by excellently qualified judges as far back 
as the Freedman's Bank trouble, and it seems probable that 
that first wave of distrust has been followed by a second one, 
and that to the Philadelphia colored people the failure of the 
Keystone stands for the same thing nearer home. 

Table XII shows proportion of colored domestics who are 
saving and who, therefore, not only are not a burden to the 
community, but are adding something to the sum total of its 
power. It shows also the methods of saving employed. 

It will be noticed that the men do more banking in propor- 
tion than the women do, and less saving ' ' at home " or by 
means of the benefit societies. Three men use the bank where 
one woman does, while three women save at home to one man 
who does. It is also noticeable that the percentages of those 
who do not save at all are about equal in both columns 
of Table XII. 

(456) 



Savings and Expenditure. 



457 



TABLE XII. 

Savings of Colored Domestics in Philadelphia. 
( By Sex and by Method of Saving. ) 



Method of Saving. 


Per Cent of 
Men Who Save. 


Per Cent of 
Women Who Save. 


Saving 




28.3 


9-7 


< < 




20.7 


30.2 


<( 


in bank and in society . . 


18.6 


15.9 


<« 


in society and owns prop- 










3-5 


1.2 


(i 




6.2 


15-9 


<« 


at home and society . . . 


1.4 


4.2 


(C 


in building association . . 


2.1 


•7 


-II 


in bank and owns prop- 








erty 


. 


1.0 


(1 


in bank and society and 
owns property or has 








built a home .... 


4.2 


1.2 


Not saving this year 




4.4 


ii 


at all 


I50 


15.6 



In contrast with this 15 per cent which saves nothing, 
may be mentioned a few cases which seem particularly note- 
worthy as examples of unusual thrift : 

1. The case of a young chore-man twenty years old, who 
said, " No, he wasn't saving any thing to speak of." And it 
would have passed at that, had not his employer said, " Why, 
Henry, you know you bring me $2.00 every month to save for 
you." And it came out that from the $14.00 he earned 
monthly he was regularly sending $5.00 each month to his aged 
mother and saving $2.00. The month before his report was 
taken he had sent $10.00 to his mother because she had had a 
•destructive fire at home and needed new articles. 

2. The case of a man-cook thirty-one years old, who has been 
in his present situation over seven years, and earns $8.00 
weekly. From this amount he has supported his family and 
built a home which he now owns. He also has a good bank 
account which, he says, his wife doesn't know about. He's 
11 going to surprise her with it when he gets a good bit; or, if 
he dies she will have something to keep her." This man also 
has membership in two benefit societies. 



45 8 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

3. The case of a young woman twenty-nine years of age, 
who receives $4.00 a week for cooking. She sends $10.00 a 
month to her mother who is a consumptive invalid and also 
" puts by " $2.00 every month. 

4. A chambermaid, a widow fifty- three years old, who says, 
"I've got a little home in Virginia I bought and paid for 
myself." She earns $3.00 a week. She also has a bank account 
and belongs to a sick benefit society. 

5. The case of a young woman of twenty-two years who 
1 ' banks half she earns every week. ' ' She earns $3. 50 weekly and 
saves $91.00 a year from her total yearly earnings, $182.00. 

6. The case of a butler earning $35.00 a month, who owns 
five lots in Richmond, two more in New Jersey and one in 
Essington. 

7. Another butler forty years old, who has been 
twenty-three years in the same family. He is paid 
$40.00 a month. He owns a Maryland stock farm which 
his uncle manages for him, several lots of land in south 
Philadelphia, has a term policy on which he pays $93. 00 yearly 
and has membership in a sick benefit which insures him $10.00 
a week in case of illness. 

Perhaps the most popular way of saving among the colored 
servants of Philadelphia is now by means of the "society." 
Of all those reporting on savings 48.4 per cent of the men and 
52.7 per cent of the women are saving in these societies. 
Whether this per cent of patronage of societies by domestic ser- 
vants is greater or less than that for the whole community, very 
nearly two-thirds of all the women who save at all do so through 
one or more societies while the greater part of the other one- 
third do their saving at home, ' * in their pockets. ' ' 

These societies, when they are bona fide insurance companies, 
often furnish fair investments to their contributors. A policy 
drawing a fee of $1.30 monthly when paid up entitles its holder 
to $10.00 a week in case of sickness. A policy drawing eighty 
cents a month entitles its holder to $5.00 a week, sick benefit. 
These represent the sick benefit rates paid by two of the best 
and most reliable societies. The great value of such companies 
to such individuals as are subject to frequent illness and have 
no home for a refuge is clear at a glance. But it often hap- 
pens that colored people who have iron constitutions will go 



Savings and Expenditure. 459 

into these societies and contribute year after year, reaping no 
benefit because they are never ill, and loath to stop paying 
their fees and begin to deposit in the bank for fear they should 
be ill. The fact that this sort of membership in sick benefits 
is a very bad investment was pointed out to a certain waiter on 
Pine street who had paid $30.00 a year for ten years into his 
two societies, but had never drawn a cent from either because he 
had never been sick. The fact that, had he banked his money 
he would have had now in hand the sum of $300, could not 
be denied, but this certainty was not sufficient to stifle the 
feeling that if he dropped the societies he ' ' would lose all he 
had put in " and the'question arising, " suppose I should be 
sick ?' ' which was not to be satisfactorily answered by state- 
ments of probabilities. The same thing, grown to greater 
proportions, is seen in the case of one quite aged butler, who 
for sixteen years has held policies in seven societies and has 
never drawn, except when his wife died. Many instances 
might be cited of domestics who have belonged to two or more 
societies for six years or more and have never drawn though 
their policies were paid up. Several instances were encountered 
of domestics who were saving in societies and also in the bank, 
and who when they were sick drew all their money out of the 
bank and "never thought of the society " and so did not draw 
at all, but exhausted their bank accounts and were then, 
presumably, helped by friends. One woman who had been 
insured in one society for seventeen years and also held a sick 
benefit, exhausted her whole bank account and only drew on 
the society for two weeks (although she was ill some months) 
because she "didn't think of it" till she had spent all the 
money she had in the bank. All which goes to show how 
difficult it is for a people long unused to any financial responsi- 
bility to adjust their minds to it and how easy a matter it is 
for unscrupulous persons or societies to take advantage of their 
simplicity. 

Assistance Given by Domestic Servants. — In connection 
with wages and savings may be considered the matter of 
assistance to dependents. Many colored domestics in Phila- 
delphia either wholly support or very materially help toward 
the support of parents or other members of the family. Even, 



460 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

in many cases, taking entire care of more distant relatives, 
outside the immediate home circle. 

The answers to Question 21 of the schedule (" Who besides 
yourself is supported by your wages?") were separated into 
four grades : (1) those wholly supporting one or both parents; 
(2), those helping parents ; (3), those wholly supporting others 
than parents ; (4), those helping, but not wholly supporting, 
others than parents. 

In this matter, the men generally do less proportionately 
than the women. Of 187 men reporting on this point, 13, 
that is 7 per cent, are of the first class, who furnish from their 
earnings the whole support of one or both parents ; 40 (or 21.4 
per cent) are of the second class, and are helping one or both 
parents; 25 (or 13.4 per cent), are of the third class, and are 
supporting some other member of the family, generally some 
younger brother or sister ; while 16 (or 8.6 per cent) are of the 
fourth class, and are helping, though not wholly supporting, 
some other member of the family; 8 (or 4.3 per cent) are doing 
more than one of these things; e. g., one young fellow of 
twenty years who earns only $3.00 a week, is responsible for 
the support of his father's entire family, seven in number, as 
the father drinks and can not be depended upon. One waiter, 
twenty-eight years old, receives $20.00 a month and is help- 
ing his own father and mother and both his wife's parents 
also. His wife too is earning, so what it practically amounts 
to is that the two young people are between them taking care 
of the four old people. The facts gathered in the Seventh 
Ward show 50.3 per cent of the men in domestic service are 
contributing toward the support of parents or others while 
49.7 per cent have no one but themselves to look out for. These 
facts and similar ones for colored women domestics are here 
tabulated, 187 men in all reported on this subject and 420 
women. 

Table XIII presents approximately the actual condition 
in regard to responsibilities assumed for the help or support 
of parents and others. Whether the following table, which 
will show the proportion of wages thus given, is equally 
reliable, is an open question. It is difficult to estimate at a 
moment's notice what one spends or gives for any one object. 
To determine with any degree of accuracy the amount one 



Savings and Expenditure, 



461 



TABLE XIII. 

Number and Percentage of Colored Domestic Servants in Phil- 
adelphia Having Parents or Others Dependent on Them. 

(60/ Cases.) 



, , f Number 

Men ' {Percent. 

, TT f Number 

Women. ( percent 











bfl • 










ci2 


a 


(0 

(LI <U 


|2 


* 






P.* 


5* 


fl'a 


3 ctf 


3+; 


— <L> 


CCPm 


Ph 


cnO 





od a 


13 


40 


25 


16 


94 


7 


21.4 


13.4 


8.6 


50.3 


26 


121 


46 


48 


241 


6.2 


28.8 


11 


1 1.4 


57-4 



•rj «-• 



93 
49-7 
179 
42.6 



spends in a year for clothing is not always an easy thing to do. 
So the answers given must involve a large amount of involun- 
tary misstatement. The following table, therefore, may be 
taken with allowances. It gives the result of many averages 
thus hastily struck by the domestics interviewed, and shows 
the number and percentage of colored servants who regularly 
give one-half, more than one-half or less than one-half their 
wages toward the support of those dependent on them. 



TABLE XIV. 

Number and Percentage oe Colored Domestic Servants op 

Philadelphia Supporting Others, by Sex and 

Proportion of Wages Given. 



Men. 



f Number . 

\ Per cent . 
„ T f Number 

Women -| Per cent 



Giving One-half 
Total Earnings. 



3.7 (of 187) 

30 

7.1 (of 420) 



Giving Less than 
One-half. 



22 
II.8 

71 
16.9 



Giving More than 
One-half. 



7 

3-7 
29 

6.9 



Many who do help their parents and others report that 
they ''cannot estimate how much it takes." Fifteen, how- 
ever, who give no estimate as to proportion of wages given, 
say very plainly that it ' ' takes all I make, " or, it ' l takes every- 
thing but eno' to clothe me." One married man of forty 



462 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

is supporting his " sister's little girl," who, he says, is "like 
an adopted child to us. Her father and mother are living but 
they have three or four besides her to support." This man 
earns thirty dollars a month, on which he supports his own 
family and his sister's little girl, and is also saving in the bank 
and has a one-dollar fee in a sick benefit society. 

One young "waiter-man," earning twenty-five dollars a 
month, is "making a home for his mother" and helping three 
sisters besides. But none of these cases appear in Table XIV, 
since none of them could give any kind of an estimate of the 
proportion of earnings given. That considerable was given in 
each of these cases, however, is obvious, and many similar 
instances might be cited. It is almost invariably true of bell- 
boys and errand-boys and girls that they take their entire 
earnings home to their parents to swell the general store. One 
young bell-boy said that he " took all he earned home to his 
mother except twenty -five cents he kept himself and she saved 
that for him." 

Summary. — A large part of the earnings of the colored 
domestics of the ward are thus seen to go towards the support 
of parents and dependents. This generosity towards their 
own will be attested, it is believed, by everyone who has had 
any considerable knowledge of the colored people. When one 
remembers that the same thing is noticeably true of the Jews, 
the thought naturally occurs that it is perhaps an instinct of 
self-preservation, which reveals itself among oppressed races. 

Again, that with a majority of Negroes, some part of their 
earnings are steadily " put by for a nest egg "—to use one of 
their own quaint expressions— will doubtless be similarly at- 
tested. There is of course much extravagance among 
Negroes. Much is doubtless spent for amusement, 
much certainly goes for finery. These outlays are compara- 
tively large with some among the colored domestics of Phila- 
delphia, although the facts which came to the knowledge of 
the investigator during these nine months in Philadelphia 
seemed to indicate that, speaking broadly, the colored domes- 
tics of that city are a thrifty class of people. 



VI. 

AMUSEMENTS AND RECREATIONS. 

There can be little doubt that the monotony of the life of 
a domestic employee is one of the chief obstacles in the 
way of many competent workers who, but for this, might 
enter service as a permanent employment. Although 
household work is less arduous than many other forms of man- 
ual labor, yet it is true of it more than of almost any other occu- 
pation that it demands practically the whole of the worker's 
time. Nearly all of the restaurant waiters interviewed have 
u only two hours at a time," and it will readily be understood 
that with their leisure so broken they find it difficult to employ 
it to any very great advantage, either in the direction of study 
or of recreation. The liberty of the ' ' private waiter ' ' (except on 
his day out) is even less than that of the hotel waiter. House- 
hold work is a ceaseless round, which like woman's work, is 
1 'never done." And the private domestic, even when given con- 
siderable liberty and free time while within the household, 
must always hold himself in readiness to answer any call at a 
moment's notice. All this is a very serious objection in the 
minds of most young people, who, as has been seen, constitute 
the greater part of domestic service everywhere. Without doubt 
it deters many whites as well as blacks, and many rural as well 
as urban people from entering household service. Indeed, it 
is probable that it determines in a very considerable degree 
the personnel of domestic service in England as well as through- 
out the United States, and somewhat modifies its character in 
the matter of permanence, as many English girls prefer factory 
work, and many girls in our cotton -growing and grape-raising 
regions, as well as in our factory towns, prefer field and factory 
work when it is to be had, and only fall back into the ranks 
of domestic service when the season is passed or factory work 
slack. Of the restlessness of household servants in England, 
Mr. Booth says : 13 " Many of this class (the middle grade) 



13 Charles Booth, vol. 8, chapter on Household Service. 

(463) 



464 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

only go to service when factory work is slack. They 
almost universally stipulate for one whole day's holiday 
in every month — indeed, with most of them, this seems to be 
the one thing which makes the servant's life worth living. . . 
The dullness and monotony of a domestic servant's life seems 
to be the most generally pressing question. The demand is for 
more Sundays and evenings out and a monthly holiday. . . 
Careful mistresses assert that they find that even quite young 
girls fresh from the country chafe under any restriction as to 
the manner in which they shall spend their leisure, or as to be- 
ing out late alone." 

The same tendencies are noticeable throughout American 
domestic service, both with native whites, foreign whites, and 
colored domestics. This dissatisfaction is shown by the rest- 
less attempts of domestics to enter other occupations. Among 
American domestic employees the country over, 28 per cent are 
found to have been engaged in other occupations, such as hop- 
picking, grape and cotton-picking and factory work. 14 That 
these people are now employed in domestic work, Miss 
Salmon believes, means not so much a preference for service as 
that it is a sort of derniere ressort to be taken up only when no 
better paid or more popular work offers. For the other kinds 
of work named the employees get wages so high as to enable 
them to live for a considerable time in idleness, — hence its 
popularity among young people in many places. 

Among the colored people in the city of Philadelphia, 524 
domestics report in regard to other occupations. Of this number 
91, or 17.4 per cent, have done, or attempted to get the opportu- 
nity to do, other work than domestic service, and it is notice- 
able that the employment which has occupied this 17.4 per 
cent of colored domestics has been very different in character 
from the field and c tory work attracting young domestics in 
general. Among colored city domestics, the work done by the 
women before entering service has very generally been dress- 
making, typewriting or teaching, while the men have worked 
as porters, or drug clerks, or have practiced trades or even pro- 
fessions. One man was encountered who had graduated from 
Hampton and from a law school as well, while several stone- 



14 Iy. M. Salmon, " Domestic Service," p. no. 



Amusements and Recreations. 465 

cutters, brick masons and carpenters were found who had 
drifted or been forced into the ranks of domestic service. 

The chief difference between the case of these Negro domes- 
tics in the city and the case of the grape-pickers and factory- 
hands both in England and America who have tried to leave 
service for other work, is indicated by the widely different char- 
acter of the work sought in each case. The grape- and cotton- 
pickers and the factory hands leave service only temporarily, 
lured by the high wages and the " liveliness " of the work, 
fully expecting all the time to return to service when the har- 
vesting is over and their wages spent; while the colored city 
employees who attempt to get other work wish to leave domestic 
service permanently. They wish to do this partly because they 
consider that service savors of slavery and that they are de- 
graded by it, and being ambitious of achieving respectability, 
they attempt to better their social standing by becoming teachers 
or dressmakers; partly also because they hope for higher wages 
from teaching and other work than they receive as domestics. 
The difference between the proportion of servants the country 
over who have done other work and the proportion of colored 
domestics in Philadelphia who have done or attempted to do 
other work is a large one. Twenty-eight per cent of general 
domestic service as Contrasted with 17.4 per cent of colored 
domestic service shows a difference which is almost in the ratio 
of five to three. And also it must be remembered — and this 
accentuates the difference still further — that the colored ser- 
vants who have tried to get other work and failed have also 
been counted, since the attempt showed their restlessness in 
service and their desire to leave it. There must be some reason 
for this apparent willingness to remain in service on the part of 
the colored people. In answer to the schedule question, ' ' Have 
you ever tried to do other work ?" a large number of domes- 
tics replied, "I never go any place I'm not sure of, — I won't 
give them a chance to refuse me. ' ' One girl who had taught 
for four years and who thinks she lost her place at the end of 
that time from prejudice on the part of the school-committee, 
says, without the slightest apparent touch of resentment, " The 
reason I don't try to teach is because I know I'd have trouble, 
and I can save as much this way." Another ex-teacher has 
now been a chambermaid for several years for the same reason. 

30 



466 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

One Philadelphia carpenter and builder says, ' ' We have five 
granddaughters — my son's children — from twenty-three years 
old to fourteen; and what can we do with them ? They can't 
get teachers' places, though they are good students. Dress- 
making is about played out. Service ? They don't want to do 
that. Typewriting is about the only hope, and the oldest one was 
refused that the other day." 

One man, now a waiter, was formerly a stock clerk for the 
Eureka Silk Company, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and held his place 
there for seven years. At the end of that time he applied by 
letter for a similar position in Philadelphia, and was told to 
"come along; everything was satisfactory; his record was 
good and they would try him." When he appeared in person 

they inquired, n Are you Mr. ?"..." Well, we have 

another applicant on file who is coming around to-day. If we 
don't decide on him we'll let you know." He left his address 
and has not heard from the firm since. He says, " Waiting is 
all we can get to do, and lots will refuse us that. No man as 
dark as I am could get work at one of the large apartment 
houses. They want a ' bright skin.' It is the same in many 
hotels, and families, too." Another man states that when he 
applied for office work the clerk to whom he addressed his 
remarks looked at him and did not answer him at all ; while 
yet another, a fine looking young man of the type called a 
"brown skin," said he had been refused clerk's work with 
insults, which ' ' it would be impossible for him to repeat before 
a lady— words he would not soil his lips with." Fortunately, 
however, this is becoming less common. When colored domes- 
tics are refused it appears to be generally with the simple state- 
ment that white help is preferred. It should be said here that 
among those who said that they had never attempted anything 
except domestic employment, fifty-two, or about 10 per cent, 
have even been refused domestic work when applying for it. 
Some of these were inclined to charge the refusal to race preju- 
dice; some attribute it to the fact that unintelligent employers 
class all colored people together; or, to put it in their own words, 
" If the mistresses has bad luck with one colored girl they wont 
never have another. They think all colored is alike." Still 
others think it is not a race question at all, but merely one of 
supply and demand. As one man put it, "There isn't work 



Amusements and Recreations. 467 

enough or places enough to go round ; that's it." There are 
many well-authenticated cases also of " light " colored people 
who have retained their places from two to fifteen years, under 
the impression, on the part of the employer, that they were 
white people ; but on the discovery of the slight tincture of 
African blood, although it could not be detected, and although 
the work had been entirely satisfactory, their situations were 
immediately forfeited. Such instances might be multiplied 
indefinitely, as they were encountered upon every hand. 

In consideration of all this, it appears highly probable that 
the Negroes are deterred in many cases from attempting to 
obtain other work, from- unwillingness to run the risk of insult 
or failure. The moral certainty of ' ' having trouble ' ' is prob- 
ably sufficient to account for the comparatively low percentage 
of colored domestics who have attempted to leave service, while 
the well-known fact that so many industries are closed against 
the race would account in large measure for the scarcity of 
those who have actually been engaged in other employments. 
These facts are sufficient to explain the 10.6 percent difference 
in the two percentages compared. 

Judging by the character of the work sought by the domes- 
tics who have left or attempted to leave service, it seems fair 
to conclude that while the monotony of service and the low pay, 
as compared with harvest wages, are the chief things that rural 
American servants have against it, probably the chief objection 
of colored city domestics against service is the social stigma 
which rightly or wrongly attaches to it. It savors to them of 
the degradation of their slavery days, while they believe that 
to be a teacher, is to achieve immediate social position and 
become a respected member of the community. Colored city 
domestics seek other work, therefore, from the desire to escape 
social degradation first, from the desire for greater personal 
freedom next, and finally from the hope of higher remuneration. 

But while the social stigma is the city Negro's chief objec- 
tion to domestic service there can be no doubt that from his 
point of view this dullness of the life is one of its most serious 
drawbacks — the most serious probably with the exception of the 
one already named. That the monotony of service is as keenly 
felt by the colored people, as by any other domestics, may 
easily be inferred both from the well-known fact of the natural 



468 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

joyousness and gaiety of the Negro's disposition, and also from 
the fact shown in Table XI, that so large a proportion of them, 
as compared with other domestics, stipulate for the freedom of 
their evenings. It was found from schedules relating to 564 
cases, that 75.6 per cent of all the Negro men servants inter- 
viewed and 49.3 per cent of all the women servants go home 
from work. When this is contrasted with the per cent of 
domestic servants the country over, who go home from work, 
we find a remarkable divergence. In general service 15 40 per 
cent of the men and only 2 per cent of the women lodge at 
home, that is to say, outside the establishment of the employer* 
This seems to show clearly the greater tendency of the colored 
domestic to escape from the solitary confinement to which our 
present system of household management condemns all the 
servants in "single handed" places. It should be marked,, 
however, that the per cents relating to Philadelphia colored 
people here are based on less than 600 schedules, while those 
relating to general service are based upon over 2500. Also, it 
is much oftener the case among colored domestics that they 
work in the same city in which their families and friends live, 
while many white women domestics have no home nearer than 
Ireland or Sweden, and so they naturally lodge at their work- 
ing places, while the colored women as naturally lodge at home 
when it is possible to do so. 

Questions will arise as to the amount of leisure time usually 
granted to colored domestics and how this leisure is employed. 

It would be impossible to tabulate the statements returned in 
answer to the question, " Number of hours free each month," 
but it may be said in general that a very great number of dif- 
ferent arrangements obtain even in this one ward of one city. 
The most of them include one afternoon each week and the 
evening or the afternoon and evening of alternate Sundays. For 
the greater number of both men and women domestics report 
this amount of leisure while some are allowed only one 
afternoon and every third Sunday or one afternoon and every 
fourth Sunday. Still a considerable number are given the 
usual afternoon of a week day and every Sunday afternoon 
as well. Some have their afternoon and alternate Sundays- 

« h. M. Salmon, " Domestic Service," p. 92. Based on 2545 cases. 



Amusements and Recreations, 469 

and one or more evenings, and a considerable number have 
this arrangement with the freedom of all their evenings. 
While still others have two afternoons weekly and alternate 
Sundays. The whole holiday every month which is so dear to 
the English household servant is not found in American 
domestic service. No Negro employee in the Philadelphia 
ward investigated reported such a whole holiday, however 
liberal might be the leisure granted in the shape of parts of 
different days ; and Miss Salmon's treatment of the subject 
mentions no whole day of leisure for domestics, but states that 
"in the case of more than 1000 employees at least one after- 
noon each week is given, while more than 400 employers give 
a part of Sunday. ' ' 

The question how their leisure is employed was answered by 
only 257 colored domestics, of whom 206 were women and only 
51 were men. It will be seen from the tabulation of these 
returns that the Negro church is very closely bound up with 
the problem of the recreations of the Negro people, and in this 
connection a word of explanation is necessary to acquaint the 
general reader with the status of the Negro church. To quote 
from a well-known American scholar and writer who is an 
authority upon race questions : ' ' Among most people the 
primitive sociological group was the family or at least the clan. 
Not so among American Negroes ; such vestiges of primitive 
organization among the Negro slaves were destroyed by the 
slaveship. In this country the first distinct voluntary organi- 
zation of Negroes was the Negro church. The Negro church 
came before the Negro home ; it ante-dates their social life, and 
in every respect it stands to-day as the fullest, broadest expres- 
sion of organized Negro life. . . . We are so familiar with 
churches, and church work is so near to us, that we have scarce 
time to view it in perspective and to realize that in origin and 
functions the Negro church is a broader, deeper and more com- 
prehensive social organism than the churches of white Ameri- 
cans. The Negro church is not simply an organism for the 
propagation of religion ; it is the centre of social, intellectual 
and religious life of an organized group of individuals. It pro- 
vides social intercourse, it provides amusements of various 
kinds, it serves as a newspaper and intelligence bureau, it 
supplants the theatre, it directs the picnic and excursion, it 



47 o Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

furnishes the music, it introduces the stranger to the community, 
it serves as a lyceum, library and lecture bureau ; it is, in fine, 
the central organ of the organized life of the American Negro, 
for amusement, relaxation, instruction and religion. To main- 
tain its pre-eminence the Negro church has been forced to 
compete with the dance-hall, the theatre and the home as an 
amusement-giving agency. Aided by color proscription in 
public amusements, aided by the fact mentioned before — that 
the church among us is older than the home — the church has 
been peculiarly successful, so that of the 10,000 Philadelphia 
Negroes whom I asked, ' Where do you get your amusements ? ' 
fully three-quarters could only answer, ' From the churches. ' " " 
This centralization of amusements about the church shows 
itself very conspicuously in the following tabulation based on 
257 records : 

TABLE XV. 
Leisure Time of Colored Domestics— How Employed. 



Usual Recreation. 



Church and church entertaiments and 
at home 

Church and visits to friends 

Church and home (occasional concert 
or theatre) 

Church and study 

Theatre, concerts, balls, bicycling, etc. 

Home resting ( women ' ' home resting 
and sewing") 



Male. 



No. PerCent. 



4 
II 

4 
10 

5 
17 



5i 



7.8 
21.6 

7.8 

19.6 

9.8 

33-4 



Female. 



No. Per Cent. 



69 
22 

15 
29 
IO 

6l 



2o6 



33.5 
IO.7 

7-3 

14. 1 

4.8 

29.6 



If these figures may be taken as typical nearly 57 per cent of 
the Negro men and nearly 66 per cent of the Negro women in 
domestic service look to the churches and the church entertain- 
ments for all their recreations except those engaged within 
the precincts of their own homes, such as home studies, music 
and social visits. Indeed the number who depend upon the 



» 7 Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, in the "College Settlement News," Philadel- 
phia, July, 1897. See also page 197 etseq., in this volume. 



Amusements and Recreations, 471 

church in this matter should be even greater than these figures 
indicate, since it is true that many of those reporting that they 
spend their leisure " at home, resting," or "at home, sewing 
and clearing up," also in most cases report in answer to ques- 
tion twenty-three of the schedule, the church of which they 
are members and whose regular services they regularly attend. 
Of the seventeen men reporting that their leisure is spent in 
"resting up " only two report that they attend no church and 
of the sixty-one women thus classified only four attend no church. 
If we count these ' ' at home ' ' domestics then where they really 
belong, with the church-goers, we shall have 93.2 per cent of 
the women and 86.3 per cent of the men among domestics who 
depend on the church for their lectures, libraries, musicales, 
festivals, etc., as well as for their religious instruction and 
uplift. This gives a combined average of 91.8 per cent of all 
colored domestics whose usual entertainment and instruction is 
of this kind. 

A comparison of the per cents of those whose leisure is 
chiefly devoted to study shows that 19.6 per cent of the men 
are so classified to 14. 1 per cent of the women. Nearly a 
third of the women so classed are music students; and if these 
are counted out we shall have only 9.7 per cent of the women 
domestics devoting their leisure chiefly to study and reading. 
One young waiter, a West Indian, was devoting his spare time 
to the study of English and meantime was taking his directions 
from his employer in French. Another waiter reported that 
he read ' ' the classics ' ' in his spare hours, and still another 
confessed to a fondness for ' ' the poets ' ' while at the same time 
he offered a pleasing contrast to many of the poets he admired, 
in having his collar and white tie and complete costume quite 
faultlessly neat and well ordered. The mistress of one house- 
hold says, ' ' Our waiter has the education of a gentleman," 
but on the other hand one employer whose judgments were 
evidently free from bias says, " Our man may be a good lawyer 
but he certainly is not a good waiter." This was however 
the only adverse criticism offered in regard to any of the 
domestics who were students and readers. It appears that 
educated domestics are generally no worse workers than others, 
if they are no better. In at least two cases it appeared that 
the educated domestic did better household work than others. 



472 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

These were a cook and maid whose employer said both her 
girls read a great deal and apparently spent their time upon 
good literature; her cook was then reading " Hyperion," she 
said. The question naturally followed, " Is shea good cook ?" 
"Yes, I have never had a more efficient girl " was the ready 
reply, ' ' and I have employed both white and colored. These 
are two of the cleanest girls I have ever had in the house." 

Several of the women servants reported their leisure devoted 
chiefly to " literaries," all of which, so far as the investigator 
was able to learn, were connected with the churches. These 
students and readers among domestic servants doubtless are 
the more ambitious ones who are anxious to improve every 
opportunity with the hope of finally working their way out of 
service. This high per cent of readers among colored domestics, 
20 per cent of the men and 10 per cent of the women, ought 
not to be surprising however, when we remember that 10 per 
cent of these people have had some training higher than the 
common school and might therefore be expected to have lit- 
erary taste. 

In regard to the home-keeping domestics, if the first and last 
classes in Table XV be combined, we find 41.2 per cent of home- 
keeping women domestics who are either at home or at their 
churches during their leisure time. At the Pennsylvania 
Hospital the investigator was informed by one of the officials 
in charge that more late passes were given to the white than 
to the colored servants, and there are about equal numbers of 
each race employed. 

The church affiliation of colored domestic servants in Phila- 
delphia may be given in this connection. Reports from 548 
persons were received on this point, 400 women and 148 men. 
The following table shows the various denominations by 
number and per cent : 



Amusements and Recreations. 



473 



TABLE XVI. 
Church Affiliation of Colored Domestics in the Seventh 

Ward of Philadelphia. 



Church. 



Methodist 

Baptist 

Episcopal 

Presbyterian .... 

Catholic 

Attending all churches 
Attending no church 

Total 



Men. 


w 


No. 


Per Cent, 




63 


42.6 


184 


52 


35.1 


160 


14 


9-4 


24 


5 


3-4 


7 


10 


6.8 


18 


2 


1.4 


6 


2 


1-3 


1 


148 


IOO. 


400 



Women. 



Per Cent. 

46.O 

40.0 
6.0 
1-7 
4-5 
1.5 
o.3 



100. 



These per cents are united into combined averages and rep- 
resented in graphic form in the following diagram : 



Diagram Showing Church Affiliation of the Colored Domestic 

Servants of the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia. 

o 10 20 30 4-0 so 60 70 ao 90 100 

5VW I 




El 



METHODIST BAPTIST, EPISCOPAL PRESBYTERIAN CATHOLIC ALL OTHERS 



VII. 



LENGTH AND QUALITY OF NEGRO DOMESTIC SERVICE. 

In regard to length of service, we have 284 reports from 
men employed in domestic service, and 591 from women, 875 
altogether. 

Of these 213 are from men personally interviewed, and since 
this question was uniformly asked, these 213 reports will rep- 
resent the service of the rank and file of men servants. 

The remaining 71 were recorded upon the family schedules,, 
and were obtained, therefore, from the statements of their 
parents or sisters, and since no question regarding length of 
service appears in the family schedule, this information was 
evidently volunteered. From this fact it seems probable that 
the length of service in these 7 1 cases was put forward as being 
something unusual, as indeed it is, including as it does, 7 rec- 
ords of 10 to 15 years service with one family, 12 records of 16 
to 20 years, and 10 records of over 20 years of service, one 
coachman having served 41 years in the same family. In view 
of the nature of this information it has been kept separate 
from the other records and dealt with by itself in order to 
avoid misrepresentation of facts. 

The service periods shown in these 71 records range from 2 
to 41 years, the average service period being 11 years and 5. 
months. 

TABLE XVII. 

(Domestic Service.) 

Service Periods oe Seventy-one "Long-service Men" in the 
Seventh Ward of Philadelphia. 





1-5 


6-9 


10-15 


16-20 


Over 20. 




Number of men servants 


20 


22 


7 


12 


IO 



The following table (No. XVIII) gives the nativity of 
these 71 "long-service men." 

(474) 



Length and Quality of Negro Domestic Service, 475 



TABLE XVIII. 

{Domestic Service.) 

Nativity of Seventy-one " Long-service Men " in the Seventh 

Ward of Philadelphia. 



Birthplace. 


Number. 


Per Cent. 


District of Columbia 


6 

7 

7 

15 

20 

5 
3 
4 
3 
1 


99 
21. 1 
28.2 
7.0 
4.2 
5-6 
4.2 
1.4 


The South 

New York 






Total . 


71 


IOO. 







Here the 18.4 per cent from Philadelphia agrees with the 
Philadelphia percentage in Table II, and also the 28.2 per cent 
from Virginia corresponds very nearly with the parallel record 
in that table which shows 27.9 per cent of the total domestic 
service of Philadelphia coming from Virginia. Turning to 
consider the pay of these long-service men, it is found that of 
these 71 men 20 are coachmen, while 51 are " private waiters." 
The following table gives their range of wages and average 
wages. The general average wage will be seen to approach 
close upon $9.00 a week. 



TABLE XIX. 

{Domestic Service.) 

Wages of Seventy-one "Long-service" Men in the Seventh 

Ward of Philadelphia. 



Sub-occupation. 


Range of Wages. 


Average Weekly Wage. 


Private waiter . . . 


$8 oo-$i4 00 (weekly) 
4 00- 10 00 " 
General average wage 


$™ 74 
8 10 
$8 84 (weekly) 



476 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

With these facts concerning service periods, nativity and 
wages of "long- service men,' r it may be interesting to compare 
the same facts for the men of the rank and file. With the 
" rank-and-file men" the service periods vary from a few days 
to 31 years, the average period being 4 years 6 months and 
some days, a considerable contrast with the 11 years and 5 
months of the long-service men. 

In the following table the nativity of the long-service men 
and that of the rank-and-file men are brought together: 



TABLE XX. 

{Domestic Service.') 

Nativity of " Rank-and-File Men" Compared with Nativity 
of " Long-service Men " in the Seventh Ward. 



Birthplace. 



Philadelphia .... 
Pennsylvania .... 
District of Columbia 
Maryland .... 

Virginia 

Delaware 

New Jersey 

North and South Carolina 



Per Cent of 
Rank-and-File Men. 



:3-8 
5-9 
7.2 



19.7 



15. 
34- 

6. 

2. 

5< 



Per Cent of 
I,ong-service Men. 



9.9 

21. 1 

28.2 

7.0 

4.2 

5-6 



In this table as in previous ones, Maryland and Virginia are 
seen to be far in the lead in the matter of furnishing the 
domestic service of the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia. Here 
indeed, the Virginia record rises to a number almost twice as 
great as that furnished by both Philadelphia and Pennsylvania 
taken together; although the percentage from the State here 
practically agrees with that of the long- service men. The 
facts in regard to range of wages and average wages of coach- 
men and private waiters in the ' ' rank and file ' ' of service in 
the Seventh Ward are given in Table XXI, which follows: 



Length and Quality of Negro Domestic Service. 477 



TABLE XXI. 
{Domestic Service.} 

Wages of " Rank-and-File Men" in the Seventh Ward of 

Philadelphia. 



Sub-occupation. 


Range of Wages. 


Average. 


Coachman .... 
Private waiter . . . 


$5 00 to #14 00 
2 00 to 8 00 
General average 


$8 58 
6 14 
$6 55 (weekly) 



A comparison of this with the average pay of the "long- 
service men" (whose average coachman's wage is $10.74, 
while their average waiter's wage is $8.10 and their general 
average wage is $8.84, nearly $9.00), would seem to point to 
the possibility that length of service may have some occult 
connection with length of pocketbook, and jthat the " giving 
satisfaction ' ' may not be all on one side of the line in the 
domestic service question. Of course it is true that a bad ser- 
vant can not command high wages, also it is impossible to 
transform a poor servant into a good one by paying him high 
wages; but, on the other hand, it is true that good service can 
not be obtained without paying good wages for it. 

Schedules giving service periods of colored women employed 
in the Seventh Ward show 591 records, only six of which were 
volunteered as unusual, as in the case of the long-service men 
given above; in view of the smallness of this number these six 
schedules have not been dealt with separately; but the women 
who have served five years and over have been isolated, irre- 
spective of the manner in which the information was obtained, 
and their statements separately treated as in the case of the 
long- service men. 

These ' ( long-service women ' ' who have served five years 
and more show 178 records; the range of service periods is 
from five to thirty-five years, the average being six years and 
eight months. 

The range of service periods of "rank-and-file women" 
varies from one day to five years, while their average service 
period is found to be three years and six months, only about 
one-half the service period of the long-service women. 



47 & Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

Their nativity and that of the "rank-and-file women" are 
given together for purposes of contrast and show the following 
facts: 

TABLE XXII. 

{Domestic Service.) 

Nativity of "Long-service Women" Compared with Nativity 
of "Rank-and-File Women " in Seventh Ward. 



Birthplace. 


Per Cent of 
Long-service Women. 


Per Cent of 
Rank-and-File Women. 


Philadelphia .... 
Pennsylvania . . 
District of Columbia 
Maryland 

New Jersey . . . 
N. and S. Carolina . 


■SSH 

3-o 
20.3 
27.1 

14.3 
6.8 

30 

37 

1.5 

100. 


~*}i8.8 

4-6 
20.5 
34.8 

6.5 

4-1 

4-3 
4.2 
2.2 

100. 



According to this record a greater proportion of " long- 
service women" come from Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, 
which is not the case in Table XX, contrasting nativity of 
the men. 

The following tables show the range of wages and average 
wage for each of the classes of women servants here considered: 



Wages of 



TABLE XXIII. 

{Domestic Service.) 

Long-service Women " in the Seventh Ward of 
Philadelphia. 



Sub-occupation. 


Range of Wages. 


Average Wage. 




Weekly. Monthly. 


Chambermaid (or waitress) . . . 


$3 00- $7 00 
3 00- 4 00 
1 50- 10 00 
Gen'l average wage 


$4 21 $18 22 
3 50 15 17 
3 50 15 17 
3 67 15 90 



Length and Quality of Negro Domestic Service. 479 

(In this table and the one following \Yi weeks have been 
reckoned to a month.) 



TABLE XXIV. 

{Domestic Service.') 

Wages of " Rank-and-Fii<e Women " in the Seventh Ward oe 

Philadelphia. 



Sub-occupation. 



Cook .... 
Chambermaid 
General . . . 



Range of Wages. 



$2 50-#lo 00 

I 50- 4 00 

1 00- 4 00 

Gen'l average wage 



Average Wage. 



Weekly. Monthly. 



$3 99 |i7 29 

3 21 13 91 

2 99 12 96 

3 26 14 12 



By comparing the last two tables it will be seen that the 
wage varies less between long service and ordinary service 
women than in the case of the men. The ordinary cook's 
wage, $3.99, compares more favorably with $4.21, the long- 
service cook's wage, than does $8.58, the ordinary coachman's 
wage, with $10.74, the wage of the long-service coachman, and 
the contrasts throughout will be seen to be less pronounced in 
the women's than in the men's wages. 

But if the wage of ordinary service and long service varies 
less among the women than among the men, it must be remem- 
bered that the length of service varies less among the women 
than among the men. The average service periods of two 
classes of men servants are four years six months, and eleven 
years five months, the one being two and one-half times as great 
as the other; while the average service periods of the two 
classes of women are three years six months, and six years 
eight months, the one being not quite twice the other; hence, 
the narrower variations in wages of women as compared with 
those of men would corroborate the theory of the close connec- 
tion of quality of service and consequent length of service 
with high wages, rather than weaken that theory. Also it 
is true that in spite of the occasionally greater range in the 
wages paid to the ' 'rank and file," the average wages of the long- 
service domestics, both men and women, are uniformly greater 



4 8o Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

than the average wages paid to the " rank and file." Combin- 
ing the average service periods of the long service domestics 
with those of the " rank and file " gives us a combined average 
of six years and one month as the average service period of 
colored men servants, and four years and five months as the 
average service period of colored women servants in Philadel- 
phia Again, uniting these averages of servants of both sexes 
in Philadelphia, gives the combined average service period for 
all colored domestics in the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia. This 
combined average service period is 4.96 years, that is to say, 
five years lacking less than one month. It is based on 875 

records: 17 

This offers a decided contrast with the average length of ser- 
vice of domestics the country over, which average service 
period, Miss Salmon states, "is found to be less than one 

year and a half." 

This contrast in service periods may be made clearer by the 
following graphic representation, showing length of service 
period of Negroes and of general domestic service in the United 
States, given in terms of a common unit of length. 

Length of Service. 



GEN'L SERVICE 
(ALL DOMESTICS IN U.S.) 

COLORED DOMESTIC SERVICE 

(IN PHILADELPHIA) 




These service periods will be seen to stand to each other in 
the ratio of about 3 to 10, and may have some connection 
with the relative numbers of white and Negro domestics. It 
may be that the Negro service period is three times as long as 
the average service period, because there are three times as 



17 Some time after the beginning of the investigation it was found to be 
practicable to get two records of length of service from each individual 
interviewed by adding the question, " How long were you in your last 
place ?" This question was then uniformly asked, which accounts for 
875 records of length of service from only 616 people personally 
interviewed. It must also be noted that the average is high, partly 
because the number of cases is small and includes a few cases of excep- 
tionally long-service periods. 

18 L. M. Salmon, " Domestic Service," p. 109. 



Length and Quality of Negro Domestic Service. 481 

many Negro servants proportionately, and therefore three times 
as many chances for capable servants to be found among them. 
Another possible explanation of the longer period of colored 
domestics may be their greater docility as servants. As one 
employer whose name is well known in Philadelphia circles 
has said of colored domestics : "If you get a good class of 
colored people they are the most faithful, honest and biddable 
servants in the world." This docility which is a recognized 
trait of the Negro character, has doubtless been developed by 
slavery, and it is not unlikely that it has been still further culti- 
vated in these later days by their knowledge that losing their 
places in service may mean inability to get work of any kind 
for an indefinite period. However, if we may judge from the 
remarks of a certain colored waitress upon length of service, 
the Negroes feel that there is a point beyond which docility 
and a respectful bearing cease to be virtues. As she had 
held her own situation for twenty-two years, her remark may 
fairly be taken as unaffected by personal considerations. She 
said : " Yes, they say long service is good service, but some- 
times you can't stay at places ; some of the ladies an' gentle- 
men's not very pleasant." An employer, on the same point, 
says : "It isn't the servants any more than it is the mistresses 
who are responsible for the frequent changes of place." She 
thinks that "it varies with the individual, not with the race." 
Many of the employers who discussed the subject with the 
investigator said that their experience was that colored servants 
were " more respectful " (six said this), " less impertinent " (2), 
"very anxious to please " (2), " more agreeable and obliging 
and have nicer manners ' ' (4). 

A third possible explanation of the longer period of service 
among colored domestics may be found in the fact frequently 
adduced by their employers, that they " are much more likely 
than white girls to become attached to the family " — so they 
naturally stay longer in one place than others do. Another 
employer says : ' ' When they become fond of you the}' are 
very staunch friends," and yet another, says of them : " They 
are much more loyal and infinitely more affectionate than white 
servants. They have shown me absolute loyalty in service." 
This is significant as being the testimony of a Northern woman 
who had ' ' never seen a colored servant ' ' before she was 

3T 



482 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

married and who employed them for the first time on coming 
to Philadelphia and now, after sixteen years, " would never 
have any one else." 

The question whether one State or one section furnishes 
better domestics than another State or section is interesting, 
and has its bearing on the point under discussion. It is pos- 
sible that the Philadelphia colored people represent a higher 
grade socially and intellectually, than the Negroes of the 
South — and so, in searching for an explanation of the connec- 
tion between length of service and quality of service it may be 
suggestive and valuable here to compare the facts already 
tabulated in regard to nativity with the facts in regard to 
ordinary and extraordinary service, to see if any indication 
may be forthcoming as to the locality which furnishes the 
best quality of colored domestic service, whether Philadelphia 
and Pennsylvania or the South. Such a comparison may cast 
light on the moot question whether Philadelphians are more 
likely to be well served by Philadelphia colored people or by 
Southerners. In the table given below, therefore, the per cent 
of Philadelphia colored people among long service and ordinary 
domestics is compared with the corresponding per cent of 
Virginia-born colored domestics. Virginia has been chosen to 
represent the South because it is the Southern State furnishing 
the greatest number of domestic servants in the Seventh Ward 
and is perhaps the State coming most sharply into competition 
with the native colored domestics. 

TABLE XXV. 
Comparing Quality of Service (as Implied in Length op Ser- 
vice Period) oe Colored Domestic Servants 
of Virginia and Pennsylvania. 





Rank-and-File Domestics. 


Long-service Domestics. 


Birthplace. 


Av. Service 

Period, 

3 yrs. 6 mos. 

(Women.) 


Av. Service 
Period, 

4 yrs. 6 mos. 
(Men.) 


Av. Service 

Period, 

6 yrs. 8 mos. 

(Women.) 


Av. Service 
Period, 

11 yrs. 5 mos. 
(Men.) 


Philadelphia . . . 
Pennsylvania . . . 


34-8 


34-2 


I2.o) 

8.3 r°- 3 

27.1 


28.2 


Proportion between 
Pennsylvania and 
Virginia .... 
(Approximately. ) 


19 
~5~5 


20 

3? 


20 


18 
28" 



Length and Quality of Negro Domestic Service. 483 

The proportions of Pennsylvania and of Virginia service here 
shown, are approximately represented by the fractions |^-, -|£, 
|~Pr and -|-|, where the numerator in each case stands for Phila- 
delphia servants employed in the Seventh Ward, and the 
denominator stands for Virginia servants there employed. 
When these fractions are reduced to the same scale they become 

348 84 3.7 8 00 47 600 nr ./j 41310 Here aq will he <;een the 
64260' ¥4 2"6T> 64260 ana 64260* f^^ie, as win De seen, tne 

first and smallest fraction stands for the shortest service period 
(three years and six months); the second fraction for the next 
longer service period, and so on. The values of these fractions 
will be seen to increase progressively, excepting the last, so 
that the greater values correspond with the longer service 
periods. The values of these fractions then, when taken in 
connection with the increasing service periods, would seem to 
indicate that the greater the proportion of Philadelphia domes- 
tics as compared with the proportion of Virginia domestics, the 
more valuable is the service ; that is to say that Philadelphia- 
born colored people appear to render the more efficient service. 
It should be said that the fourth fraction in the above compar- 
ison, to be consistent with the theory offered, should be larger 
than the third, but it must be remembered that the fourth frac- 
tion is based upon only seventy-one records and is therefore 
less likely to represent the facts accurately than the others 
which are based on a much greater number of records. 

Such indications as the above, approach nearer to accurate 
treatment of the question of quality of service rendered than it 
is possible to get through quoting opinions of employers. The 
subject is hard to treat at all adequately for the reason that all 
statements of degrees of excellence or of incompetency must be 
based on the shifting sands of opinion and upon the opinions 
of many different people, having different traditions, different 
education and home influences, different degrees of insight and 
different standards of excellence. Statements so conditioned 
must necessarily be relative and impossible to reckon up and 
number with any semblance of statistical precision. Still the 
opinions of the employers of colored domestics in the Seventh 
Ward of Philadelphia, a large proportion of whom have em- 
ployed both white and colored help, should have a certain 
interest and value, even though they are not reducible to 
figures. 



484 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

Fifty-five employers 19 in the Seventh Ward stated their views 
in regard to the qualities of Negro domestics and many varying 
opinions, both favorable and unfavorable, were expressed. 
The balance of testimony from these fifty-five employers, how- 
ever, seems to be largely in favor of the colored people rather 
than whites, both in regard to the service offered and in the 
attitude of the employee toward the employer. Only one 
employer stated that she preferred white to colored ; she was 
employing colored help at that time only because she had not 
been able to secure satisfactory white girls. Twenty employers 
say that they find colored domestics quite as neat as whites, 
while two find them not as neat and five find them more so ; 
"much cleaner than the Irish both in their work and in their 
persons; "they keep their kitchen and their own room cleaner." 
Ten employers think they stay for as long or longer a 
service period, while seven think they do not stay as long as 
the whites. Fourteen employers think they render as good 
service as whites, and eleven think their service better, or ' 'a 
great deal better;" while one — although employing three col- 
ored servants — thinks the whites do better work and says she 
has colored servants ' ' because they look more like servants. ' ' 
She also thinks they drink more than the whites, an opinion 
which, so far as the present investigator can learn, she is 
unique in holding, since all the other employers who discussed 
the point held the opposite view. 

One gentleman, the business manager of one of the large 
first-class apartment hotels which employs thirty dining room 
men, names their freedom from intemperance as one of the 
chief reasons why he ' 'decidedly prefers colored help. " ' ' They 
give more attention to their work," he says, "are better waiters 
and they drink less. They can be counted upon on pay day 
the same as any other day, while white serving men are likely 
to go and drink up their pay and be useless for the rest of the 
day." The business manager of the Continental says the 
same thing, as do also all the hotels which employ colored 
service. 

A very few employers think colored domestics "are lazy and 
neglect their work," while more than four times as many say 



19 Most of whom have employed both white and Negro domestics. 



Length and Quality of Negro Domestic Service. 485 

that they are " industrious" and " good workers," " splendid 
workers, " * * a great deal better workers and decidedly better 
cooks than the whites." One employer says on this point: 
1 ' No, I have not found them lazy, at least no more so than 
others ; there are good ones and bad ones among both white 
and colored." Skill in cooking was mentioned by only six 
employers, all of whom think colored cooks superior to other 
servants in this respect. 

Further judgments are: " They are excellent servants and 
have an intuitive knowledge of what you want; " " they do 
all the things white servants wait to be told to do." Several 
employers agree on these points, but one says: " They have 
to be told to do everything, but if you keep after them, you 
can get the things done." The testimonial of one cook upon 
the virtues of ' ' her madam ' ' will show this matter from the 
domestic point of view. This cook says, ' ' My madam gives 
me the key, and she never comes down to see if I'm here in 
the morning; she knows I'll be here; and she never comes into 
the kitchen to see if meals are getting along, because she 
knows when half- past six o'clock comes she can trust her 
girls to have it ready right then." One mistress said: " Trust 
them, and I have found they always prove themselves worthy 
of trust." Eighteen employers concur in the view that they 
are trustworthy and do not disappoint confidence; while three 
think them unreliable and untrustworthy, as compared with 
white servants. On this subject one employer on Spruce street 
said: " I think the colored people are much maligned in regard 
to honesty, cleanliness and trustworthiness; my experience of 
them is that they are immaculate in every way, and they are 
perfectly honest; indeed, I can't say enough that is good about 
them." These sentiments were held by several other employ- 
ers, one on Broad street using almost the same words: "I 
think the colored people are very much maligned in this mat- 
ter of honesty and trustworthiness; I have two colored men 
now who are as honest as the sun, and my cook, who also does 
all the marketing, is very industrious and careful, — painstak- 
ing. She is a good, faithful creature, and very grateful." 

In regard to the question of the pilfering of food left from 
the table, the concensus of opinion is heavily against the 
colored people. There are only three employers who have 



486 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

anything to say in defence of them in this particular, and six 
against. Their defenders say: " After ten years of experience 
with the colored people, I have never had a colored servant 
take anything, even food;" the next: "We lost more food, 
etc., from the treating in the kitchen, which the Irish indulge 
in, than we have ever missed from pilfering of colored ser- 
vants, ' ' and a third, who employs both white and colored ser- 
vants, says: "I know it is frequently said that the colored 
people take food home from the kitchen, but I have not found 
it so." On the other hand it is said: "They are good ser- 
vants, but they will carry things off; " while another says that 
they "take food; they don't mean to be dishonest, but they 
don't consider that stealing, and are perfectly honest about 
money." Another employer says: "Unquestionably they 
are light-fingered about food and sweetmeats; slavery has 
always clothed and fed them and taught them to help them- 
selves; we think slavery is responsible for it." Another 
thinks " they are like children in temptation; they can't resist 
sweetmeats, but never take things of value. ' ' The other two 
employers who spoke on this point say practically the same 
thing: "They are honest; they take things to eat home, but 
they don't count that; we never lose anything valuable." The 
other calls them "thieves," but evidently means pilferers of 
food. 

In regard to their honesty, the balance is as strongly with 
them as, in this question of purloining food, it is against them. 
Eighteen employers say they are honest, and not one states the 
opposite. Two of these find them " more honest than white 
servants," and two others, already quoted, say they are "per- 
fectly honest," " as honest as the sun." Many remarks made 
by domestics themselves, in the course of conversation, might 
be quoted as casting light on the subject, but only two will be 
given here. One elderly colored man, who had been a school 
janitor in the west end of the ward for two years, and was 
nearly nine years in his former place, said: "Some people say 
if you put your hand in a man's pocket, you're stealing; they 
think that's the only way; but if you loaf two or three hours 
every day when your boss is paying you for working, I say 
you're stealing just the same— stealing his time; I say we only 
live one day at a time, and that one day we've got to do the 



Length and Quality of Negro Domestic Service. 487 

same as if we'd just come to that place. In summer places 
I've seen them so triflin' — fooling away their time, and merely 
because the proprietor don't see them." The same spirit was 
shown by a woman cook on Broad street, who took pleasure 
in doing good work always for "her lady," whose kindness 
she enlarged upon with a warmth that showed a strong affec- 
tion. This woman said: " When my time comes to go home 
from here, it will be a pleasant thought that I have done all I 
can to help my kind employer." These two cases imply not 
only honesty in the overt act, but an entire honesty of pur- 
pose. Many similar cases might be cited. 

The question of the general bearing and manners of colored 
domestics was discussed by many of their employers. The 
general opinion of the employers is that they are ' ' more will- 
ing and obliging" than white servants. As one employer 
says: "The Germans drink and the Irish order you out of 
the house, but the colored people are more respectful and 
anxious to please." " They are more agreeable and obliging 
and have nicer manners," says another employer, and adds: 
"When my sister was ill, the Irish maid I had at the time 
refused to carry up the breakfast tray, ' because, ' she said, ' it 
was not her business to do nursing,' and she ' wouldn't do it 
for ten dollars.' " So the employer herself prepared and 
carried up the trays until the colored girl, who came soon 
after, volunteered her services with : ' ' Let me take up the 

breakfast tray, Mrs. W . You look ready to drop," and 

since she came, Mrs. W has never had a white girl in the 

house. That the colored people are more willing and obliging 
in manner is attested by twenty employers and denied by no 
one, while one employer, who is connected with the University, 
and has had years of experience, both with white and colored 
servants, says of the colored people: "Whether they are better 
or worse than the whites may depend upon what whites you 
have. We had white servants for seven winters, and always em- 
ployed the best Irish servants we could get; but they were so 
unsatisfactory that we gave them up and tried colored servants. 
Our experience of them is that they are infinitely cleaner than 
the white Irish, both in their work and personally; they are 
more self-respecting and better mannered — more agreeable in 
manners; indeed, I have found them capable of the very highest 



488 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

cultivation of manner. One of our men has the education of 
a gentleman and is improving himself constantly; the other is 
ignorant, but is exceedingly refined and modest in manner. 
Of course they have faults; they are fickle, changing from 
place to place, even when they are fond of their employers, and 
they have quick tempers, but they are truthful and honest; we 
have never lost a thing by them. We keep them by prefer- 
ence, and shall continue to do so." 

Several employers agree in regard to this instinct of the 
colored people for good manners. One who constantly em- 
ploys nine servants, and in the last twenty-five or thirty years 
has had only one set of white servants says: " There is much 
more to them than people think; our first man servant has as 
many of the instincts of a gentleman, as anyone I ever saw." 
This is high praise. " They have a native, deep-seated refine- 
ment and very lovely manners," says another who has em- 
ployed them for fifteen years. 

A judgment which was frequently encountered and always 
among those employers who had had experience of both 
white and colored servants was, that colored servants are "just 
like other people of their own class." One employer says on 
this point: " I don't find a bit of difference; some are very neat 
and some are very untidy; it depends entirely on the girl." 
Another says: "There are good ones and poor ones among 
both ; it varies with the individual, not with the race. ' ' 
Another, in charge of a large institution, employing many 
servants of whom half are white and half colored, says: " My 
experience has been very satisfactory with the colored ; they 
are less impertinent, but in most respects are much like white 
people of their own class. One is about as faithful as the other, 
and in the matter of neatness they are just like other people ; 
it is six of one and half a dozen of the other,' As to trust- 
worthiness I have found certain ones are perfectly reliable — 
just as with other human beings." Those who are interested 
in this subject will doubtless see that, although these opinions 
of employers have no statistical value, they will have a prac- 
tical value for many readers, and especially if they open the 
eyes of the Philadelphia public, or even a small part of it, to 
the hitherto apparently unsuspected fact that there are grades 
among colored people, just as there are among white people; 



Length and Quality of Negro Domestic Service. 489 

and among colored servants as among white servants; that 
they are "just like other human beings ;" some of them 
trustworthy, and others not; some of them ''perfectly reli- 
able," and others the opposite of what that phrase expresses, 
exactly as with white people of their own class. To class 
the whole race together, or to class all colored domestics to- 
gether, is to make a serious mistake. 



VIII. 



CONJUGAL CONDITION, ILLITERACY AND HEAL/TH OF NEGRO 

DOMESTICS. 

Conjugal Condition. — The following table gives the facts in 
the matter of conjugal condition of colored domestics in the 
Seventh Ward of Philadelphia, by sex and age periods. It is 
based upon 2289 records (see page 491): 

Comparing the conjugal condition of Negro domestics with 
that of all domestics, we have: 



TABLE XXVI. 

Conjugal Condition in Alx American Domestic Service Com- 
pared with Conjugal Condition Among Colored 
Domestic Servants in Philadelphia. 



Cc 


mjugal Condition. 
( All American 
amestic Servants.) 


Male. 


Female. 


D 


Per Cent. 


Per Cent. 


Married , 
Widowed 
Divorced 




46.18 
49.96 

3-59 
.27 


69.85 

12.84 

16.32 

•99 








ICO. 00 


IOO.OO 



Conjugal Condition. 

( Colored Domestic 

Servants in Philadelphia.) 


Male. 


Female. 


Per Cent. 


Per Cent. 




44-6 
5I.O 

2.8 

.7 
.9 


47-5 
33-1 
17.4 

1.9 

.1 




Widowed . . 






100.00 


IOO.OO 



(490) 



Conjugal Condition, Illiteracy and Health. 491 



w 

Q 
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492 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

This comparison of the conjugal condition of white and of 
colored domestics may advantageously be reduced to graphic 
form for clearness. The first of these diagrams presents the 
facts of conjugal condition among American domestics ser- 
vants of all nationalities, as recorded in the eleventh census, 
while the second presents the same facts relating to colored 
domestic servants in Philadelphia. 



Conjugal Condition in All American Domestic Service. 
{Figures of Eleventh Census.) 



20 



MALE 
FEMALE 



30 40 




Conjugal Condition in Colored Domestic Service in Philadelphia. 



so 



MALE 
FEMALE 



30 AO 



so eo 




□ 



SINCIE MARRIED WIDOWED DIVORCED UNKNOWN 



A study of census statistics in connection with the results of 
this investigation, seems to show a remarkably close parallel 
between the conjugal statistics of men servants, white and 
colored. The disproportionate number of single white women 
is accounted for by the great number of unmarried foreign 
born white women in American domestic service. This study 
of the conjugal condition of domestic servants seems to corrob- 
orate the opinion of those employers who found colored people 
*' very much like other human beings." 

Illiteracy.— The following table of illiteracy is based upon 
576 reports: 



Conjugal Condition, Illiteracy and Health. 493 



TABLE XXVIII. 

Iwjteracy Among Domestic Servants, Negroes, oe the Seventh 

Ward, Philadelphia. 





Male. 


Female. 


Total. 




No. 


Per Cent. 


Illiterate. 
Cannot read or write 

Literate 

Having a trade and some higher 
Having higher school training 


IO 
5 

109 

7 

3 
22 


60 

44 

267 
11 

7 
31 


70 \ 

49/ 

376 
18 

IO 

53 


20.7 

65.3 
3-1 

1.7 

9.2 


Total 


156 


420 


576 


IOO. O 



This table shows 9.6 per cent of the men and 24.8 per cent 
of the women in domestic service to be illiterate in some degree, 
with a total percentage of 20.7 illiterate, either wholly or in 
part, while 80 per cent of the colored men and women in domestic 
service have at least a common school education. Fourteen 
per cent of the total count will be seen to have had some train- 
ing above that of the common schools, or to have attended an 
industrial school. 

The illiteracy of Negro servants is about 2 per cent greater 
than that of the total Negro population of the Seventh Ward. 
This is doubtless to be accounted for by the fact that 70 per cent 
of colored domestic servants are women, and the illiteracy of col- 
ored women is uniformly greater than that of colored men. 
This will be seen by glancing at the per cents of illiteracy for 
colored men and women servants, 9.6 per cent as opposed to 
24.8 per cent, and in the total population 14.2 per cent as opposed 
to 24.1 percent. In the whole population the sexes are about 
evenly balanced in numbers, hence in the general average for 
the illiteracy of the whole population, the rates for each sex 
would bear an equal part in the general result. A comparison 
of these averages shows that the men in domestic service are 
somewhat less illiterate than the men in the whole popula- 
tion, while the women in domestic service appear to be slightly 
behind the women of the whole population. 



494 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

The question will arise as to the relative illiteracy of Negro 
domestics and of other domestics the country over. It is inter- 
esting to make the comparison. The census of 1890 gives the 
percentage of male illiterates in domestic and personal service 
as 18.9. This is the rate for all men servants in America, ten 
years old and over and includes all nationalties, the native 
whites, foreign-born whites and colored. It is less creditable 
than the record of the Philadelphia colored population by 
nearly five points, the record for Philadelphia's male Negroes 
ten years old and over being but 14.2 per cent. And it is 
only about half as creditable as the record of colored domestic 
men-servants, their per cent of illiteracy amounting to only 
9.6. (The margin of error in the last is probably large, how- 
ever, since it is computed upon but 156 cases.) The census 
shows for female domestic service the country over, including 
both native and foreign white, and colored women over ten 
years of age, a per cent of illiteracy amounting to 24.75. 
Among colored women servants in Philadelphia 24.80 are 
tound to be illiterate. The whole colored population of Phila- 
delphia improves slightly upon this, showing for its women 
and girls 24. 1 per cent of illiteracy. 

Illiteracy of Colored Domestics (Philadelphia) and of all 
American Domestics, Compared by Sex. 



UA i F (colored domestics 

MALE \ (PHILA.) 

ILLITERACY! ALL American 

■ uu itnw.il DOMESTICS 

^(hth.cwsusofus.) 

PFUMF fCOLORED DOMESTICS 

FEMALE I ( PHILA ) 
ILL!7LW)allamerican 

I. 00ME3TICS v , 

yniTH. CENSUS OFUS) t 




to 



20 




5 PER CENT 
86% 

18.9 



246% 
2475%) 



This comparison seems to indicate that the grade of intelli- 
gence of women servants, white and colored, is practically the 
same, while the colored men servants are of a higher grade of 
intelligence than are white men servants. The investigator is 
; inclined to think that the average of illiteracy for colored men 



Conjugal Condition, Illiteracy and Health. 495 

servants, though computed on so few records, fairly represents 
the real conditions. It is not difficult to account for the great 
difference in records of colored and of white men servants when 
one remembers the fact so often referred to, of the crowding 
out of competent and educated colored men, who have been 
clerks, teachers and skilled workmen, and who at one time or 
another, have found themselves in a position where they were 
obliged to take domestic service or nothing. Large numbers 
of such men in the ranks of domestic service would bring down 
the percentage of illiteracy very decidedly. That it should 
reach the point of 9.6 per cent is very creditable to the colored 
men servants if the figures are correct, since the per cent of 
illiteracy for native white males is not quite four points ahead 
of it, being given by the census as 5.83 per cent. 

Health Statistics for Domestic Servants. — The questions 
" Number of days sick in last twelve months?" " Nature of 
illness ?' ' were answered by 547 domestic servants. The tabula- 
tion of their reports follows: 



TABLE XXIX. 

{Domestic Service.) 
Sickness and Heai/th During Last Twelve Months, by Sex. 



Health 
Record. 


Male. 


Fem 


CALE. 


Total. 


No. 


Per Cent. 


No. 


Per Cent. 


No. 


Per Cent. 


Not sick at 














all during 
last twelve 














months . 
Ill one week 


121 


796 


293 


74.2 


414 


75-7 


or less . . 
Ill more than 


7 


4-6 


33 


8.4 


40 


7-3 


one week 


24 


15,8 


69 


17.4 


93 


17.0 


Total . . 


152 


IOO. 


395 


IOO. 


547 


IOO. 



From this table it is seen that 80 per cent of the men have 
not been ill at all during the year; while among the women 74 
per cent have been exempt from illness. It is noteworthy that 
the slightest illness appears to have been conscientiously 
reported upon, since very nearly one-third of the men reporting 



496 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

illness were cases of colds or other such slight troubles as kept 
them ill only a day or two; while rather more than one-third 
of the women also scrupulously reported such insignificant 
illnesses. In this paper, however, the example of the Commis- 
sioner of Labor has been followed and " colds " have not been 
counted at all. Wherever, therefore, an illness of one or two 
days is reported, it is of more serious nature than a mere cold. 

Of the 547 persons reporting, 3.1 per cent report serious ill- 
ness of which 2.6 per cent belongs to the women and the remain- 
ing .5 per cent to the men. 

The most prevalent troubles are consumption, la grippe, 
quinsy, sore throat, rheumatism, neuralgia, chills and fever, or 
dyspepsia and ''inflammation," which latter term appears to 
be a general name for all discomforts of the inner domestic 
from indigestion to peritonitis and sudden death. 

Of those reporting illness seven of the thirty- one men will be 
seen to have been ill one week or less ; while thirty-three of the 
102 women were ill one week or less. One maid reports a 
severe attack of la grippe but she ' ' worked all the same ' ' losing 
not one day of work in the year. And Table VII will show 
that this is no uncommon fact but that several of those report- 
ing illness lose no time from work. While the women's sick 
list shows thirty-three ill one week or less, it shows sixty-nine 
who have had longer periods of illness. Among the longest 
periods reported are the following : ' ' Out of work for three 
months on account of trouble with the eyes, an operation for 
cataract;" another, out three or four months on account of 
weak lungs, says : ' * I never can work more than a few weeks 
to a time ; ' ' another, laid up three months with a sprained 
ankle ; another, ' 4 sick from March to Christmas with rheu- 
matism ; " another, "four months sick with rheumatism, but 
worked ; ' ' another, five months sick with nervous shock 
caused by sudden death of her husband in an accident ; one 
man has chills and fever from time to time all the year 
round; another, "had rheumatism all winter but lost no 
working time." A comparison of the length of illness tabu- 
lated below will show that the records just quoted are unusual. 
Table XXIX gives the complete record of those who report 
illness within the past twelve months. 



Conjugal Condition, Illiteracy and Health. 497 

TABLE XXX. 

{Domestic Service.} 

Persons Sick or Injured, by Sex, by Kind of Augment or Injury 
and by Length of Iu«ness. 





Male. 


FlMALE. 


Kind of 
Ailment, etc. 


No. 

I 

I 
I 

I 
I 


Period of Illness. 


No. 


Period of Illness. 


Days. 


Weeks. 


Mos. 


Days. 


Weeks. 


Mos. 


it 

Accident (to hand) . 

Biliousness .... 
Chills and fever . . 


3 or 4 

t 


8 
2 


I 


I 
I 

I 

I* 

I 

I 
I 
I 
I 
I 
I 
I 
I 

I 


I 

2 

3 


2 

3 

2 


3 

\% 

3 
3 


n 










11 
























1 
t 

10 


















<< 














' ' and kidney 
trouble . 
Erysipelas .... 
Eyes, inflammation 
" operation for 


I 


II 






. . . 








I 

I 
I 

I 
I 

Hi 
1 

1 

1 
1 
1 
1 
1 
2 
1 


. . . 


2 












3 












4 
6* 


6 
6 

3 
1 




I 


2 








Internal ailment 

U <( 

i( <( 








. . . 


. . . 


<( (C 


I 

4 


5 


2 


... 


2 


La grippe 


1 

2 

'ft* 










<< 


3 
4 
5 
8 




<« 












<( 












<< 












<< 












Malarial fever . . . 


1 


. . . 


3 












1 


• • • 


2 


. . . 



♦ Broken leg. 

t Intermittent (" loses no time")- 

\ " Few days.'' 

§ Unknown ("worked all time"). 

|| Unknown. 

H Result of heavy lifting. 

** Hemorrhage. 

ft Unknown ("worked all time.") 

32 



498 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service, 
TABLE XXX.— Continued. 



Kind of 
Ailment, etc. 



Neuralgia 



Neuritis . 
Operation ( 
Pleurisy 
Quinsy 



surgical), 



Rheumatism 



Shock (nervous) , 
Sprained ankle , 
Stomach* ' inflamma 
tion" of 



Tape-worm removed 
Typhoid fever 



Unknown 



No. 



Total 31 



Male. 



Period of Illness. 



Days. Weeks. Mos 



IO 
15 
*9 



I 
2 

2 or 3 



No. 



I02 



Female. 



Period of Illness. 



Days. 



IO 

* 

2 

3 



3 

4 

5 

10 

16 



Weeks. Mos 



* Week ('• worked all time "). 

f " All winter but worked all time. 

\ Few days. 



4 
3 to 9 

5 
3 



Conjugal Condition, Illiteracy and Health. 499 

This table is found to aggregate 415 weeks of illness during 
the year, to be distributed among 547 persons, giving an aver- 
age loss of work time for illness of about four-fifths of a week 
per individual during the year. 20 

Health of colored domestic servants in the Seventh Ward 
during the last twelve months is shown in the diagram which 
follows: 

Health Statistics, for Last Twelve Months, of Colored 
Domestics of Philadelphia. 



[MALE 

FEMALE 

TOTAL 



10 


20 


30 


40 


so 


<so 


70 


eo 






























^3; 
































(SI 






























:** : v 


■ 1 






























v« 
































rfev 


































$1 



SO 



D 



NOT SICK AT ALL DUPING LAST IS MONTHS 
ILL ONE WEEK OR LESS •• m • •• 

ILL MORE THAN I WEEK z -a ?< 



WILL TC8 
ILLlWK. .a-e 
ILL , IS a 

Swell. >*.a 

ILL4WK. S.4. 
I ILL I-7- A 

l WELL 75.7 

ILL1WK. 7.3 

I ILL. I7.Q 



20 It may be of interest to compare this result with the following table 
taken from Professor Mayo Smith's "Statistics and Sociology," which 
table, the author says, is " based upon the experience of the largest and 
most important Friendly Society in England, which gives aid to members 
when they are ill, the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows, comprising 
400,000 members." The table is as follows : 

Average Sickness per Individual 
Age. Per Annum (in Weeks). 

Male. Female. 

15-20 years 666 .666 

20-25 " 737 .737 

25-45 " 995 -995 

45-65 " 2.736 2.751 

15-65 " I-3I4 1.334 

Omitting the 45-65 period, which is not fairly comparable with the 
ages of colored domestic servants (their average age being 30.3), it 
will be seen that the average illness among the English working people 
is nearly the same as that among colored domestics of the same age. 
The English Sick Benefit Society showing an average of .799 as com- 
pared with .759 for colored servants, ths slight difference being to the 
advantage of the colored servants. 



IX. 

IDEALS OF BETTERMENT. 

In view of the general purpose of this investigation, it is 
proper to discuss in conclusion the question of the improve- 
ment of Philadelphia Negro domestic service. In the first 
place, what remedies or improvements in domestic service have 
already been tried with any measure of success ? The answer 
to this question should indicate the lines along which progress 
may be expected. 

The only two scientific studies of the subject up to the pres- 
ent time, are those of Mr. Charles Booth and of Miss Salmon, 
who in 1897 published her 300-paged book entitled " Domestic 
Service." Mr. Booth's treatment of the subject is purely sta- 
tistical, simply stating and grouping facts; it has no theory of 
betterment to offer. But Miss Salmon, besides giving statistics 
of American domestic service, also treats the question in its 
historical aspects and considers it philosophically and practi- 
cally, with an eye to its probable future development and to 
possible remedies for present difficulties. 

Hence the best, perhaps the only answer, to the above ques- 
tion now to be found in print is that given by Miss Salmon in 
the closing chapters of her book; and a brief abstract of those 
chapters is therefore given here, with her permission. 

Before suggesting any plan of betterment, Miss Salmon enu- 
merates and discards various " doubtful remedies, ' ' such as the. 
removal of all difficulties by the application of the golden rule, 
employing the system of serviceibooks in vogue in Germany, 
introducing domestic training in the public schools, and other 
methods. All these plans fail, says the author, because they 
assume that the adjustment to be made is a purely personal 
one, whereas larger relations— political, economic, industrial 
and social— are, in point of fact involved; and she believes that 
reform in domestic service, if it is to succeed, "must be accom- 
plished along the same general economic lines as are reforms 
in other great departments of labor. ' ' She shows that domestic 
service, though apparently isolated from other departments of 

(500) 



Ideals of Betterment. 501 

the world's work, has been powerfully affected by inventions, 
by political revolutions and social changes, by the commercial 
development of the country and the introduction of the factory 
system, which took out of the household once and for all the 
making of men's garments, many kinds of woolen wear, boots 
and shoes, hats, gloves, etc. , together with the preparation of 
many kinds of food now made chiefly in factories, — cheese, 
canned vegetables, ice cream, etc. 

Having shown that domestic labor is not isolated but forms 
an integral and closely interwoven part of the social fabric, the 
author turns to consider possible remedies which can succeed 
only as they harmonize with the all-pervasive economic ten- 
dencies of modern times. Miss Salmon first enumerates these 
tendencies and declares them to be: 

" 1. The tendency toward concentration of capital and labor 
in industry, shown in pools, trusts, department stores, etc. 

" 2. The tendency toward specialization in every department 
of labor. 

" 3. The tendency toward collective action growing from (1) 
and (2). 

' ' 4. The tendency toward profit-sharing and similar methods 
constantly becoming more far-reaching. 

" 5. The tendency toward greater industrial independence of 
women. ' ' 

The first of the remedies suggested by Miss Salmon as run- 
ning in harmony with these tendencies is specialization of 
household employments. This is an important point deserving 
of most careful consideration. It is true that all advancement 
yet made in household employments has involved division of 
labor and unconscious co-operation; as for instance, when spin- 
ning and weaving once done by the women at home, was 
removed to the factory ; next, when the sewing machine took 
the making of underclothing largely out of the home and made 
of it the ' 'white goods' ' industry. Cheese, a home product 
till i860, is now wholly factory made. 

It is important to notice that all these articles, both of food 
and clothing, though at first more expensive when factory 
made, are now both better and more cheaply made outside the 
household. The presumption is that other articles now in a 
transition state (such for example, as glass-canned fruits and 



502 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

preserves, jellies, pickles, bread, cake, pastry, pressed meats, 
condensed milk, butter, etc.), would soon be among those things 
made both better and more cheaply out of the house than within, 
were the demand for them sufficient. These things, if 
purchased through women's exchanges, are more expensive 
only because the "demand for them has thus far been limited." 
The author believes that their cheapening would follow upon 
their greater demand, together with improved quality, as has 
been the case with clothing, etc. She shows further that the 
delivery of practically all articles of food ready for the final 
application of heat is possible through business enterprise and 
scientific experiment, and believes that this would go a long 
way toward solving the * 'servant question' ' by taking most of 
the domestics out of the house and thus lessening the strain 
of personal relations of employer and employee. Employers 
would welcome such a change. The situation would be 
improved for the employees also, since many women could 
retain their homelife and at the same time earn money 
and support their families. 2l This change, it is pointed out, 
"is in direct line with the tendency toward specialization 
everywhere else found, in that it enables each person to do 
exclusively that thing which she can do best; it allows the 
concentration of labor and capital and thus economizes and 
secures the largest results; it retains the woman's homelife 
without sacrificing her bread-winning opportunities; it 
improves the quality of products, thus made under the most 
favorable conditions; it brings the work of every cook 
into competition with the work of every other cook and thus 
incites improvement; it applies the principle of unconscious 
co-operation and thus harmonizes with other business activi- 
ties." 

That the laundry department also could thus be taken outside 
the household will not be questioned, since Troy laundries 
already do many articles better and more cheaply than can be 



21 A long list of bread-winners among women is given ("Domestic 
Service," page 219 et seq.) showing how women are wholly or partly 
supporting their families by preparing in their homes articles of food for 
sale in neighboring large cities, each woman usually making large 
quantities of only one or two articles, e. g., Saratoga potatoes, sold in 
large quantities to grocers, jams and pickles, chicken salad, cake, etc. 



Ideals of Betterment. 503 

done at home. Troy prices would lessen with increased demand 
and competition among laundries. 

The care of lawns, gardens and orchards in summer, and of 
furnaces in winter, also tends to become a business in itself; 
and many cases are recorded of men who care for eight or ten 
different furnaces, or who have charge of from ten to fifteen 
lawns or gardens, and of women who wash windows once a 
week, for a large number of families. 

There are many reasons why this tendency should develop. 
It has much in its favor, while the only objection to it — that the 
cost of living would be increased — is not valid, since it is cer- 
tain that the added expense would only be temporary, as in the 
case of factory-made garments, and would finally operate 
decidedly to cheapen living expenses. 

The second possible remedy suggested is profit-sharing, and its 
application to housework is interesting. ' * It is possible, ' ' says 
Miss Salmon, "to fix a sum, as $50 or $100 for monthly 
expenses, including food, fuel, lights, a pro-rata for guests, etc. 
If by care in the use of materials the expenses amount to but 
$45 or $90 monthly, the $5 or $10 saved can be divided accord- 
ing to a proportion previously agreed upon, between the em- 
ployer and the employees; the cook, who is in a position to save 
most, receiving the greatest percentage of the bonus." 

Domestics thus become interested partners in the concern and 
with most satisfactory results. Miss Salmon states that this is 
not untested theory but has been successfully practiced and 
actually does place the household on a business basis. 

A third possible remedy proposed is thorough education in 
household science. It is maintained that the organization of a 
great professional school fully equipped for the study of 
domestic science and open only to graduates of the leading 
colleges and universities, would start household science in the 
right direction, — that in which advancement in all other occupa- 
tions has been made, — and thus make possible true progress and 
further harmonious development in this "belated industry." 22 

The result, should these remedies be applied on a large 
scale, Miss Salmon believes would be far reaching and of inesti- 
mable value. She says: "This readjustment of work and the 



22 So called by Miss Addams in a recent address. 



504 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

willingness of large numbers of women to work for remuneration 
would be as productive of improvement in all household affairs 
as division of labor has been elsewhere. A far-reaching benefit 
is suggested by Maria Mitchell when she says:— 'the dress- 
maker should no more be a universal character than the 
carpenter. Suppose every man should feel it his duty to do his 
own mechanical work of all kinds— would society be bene- 
fited?— would the work be well done? Yet a woman is 
expected to know how to do all kinds of sewing, all kinds of 
cooking, all kinds of||any "woman's work," and the conse- 
quence is that life is passed in learning these only, while the 
universe of truth beyond remains unentered.' It must be said 
in conclusion," the author continues, "that little can be ac- 
complished in domestic reform except through the use of means 
which already exist, developing these along lines marked out 
by industrial progress in other fields." 

This brief extract gives the gist of the best thought thus far 
devoted to the subject. Now, we must ask ourselves, how can 
all this be applied to Negro domestic service in Philadelphia ? 
What facts now existing in service there can be laid hold of and 
developed along these lines of progress observed in other fields 
of industry ? 

Most of the facts of Negro domestic service which are amen- 
able to such adaptation and development are to be found under 
the head of specialization of employments. Considerable out- 
side service is already being done by colored people in Phila- 
delphia. The degree to which laundry work, for example, has 
been removed from the household may be seen by the fact 
that there are but thirty- one private laundresses in the ward, 
while 1097 colored women in the ward support their families 
by taking in washing or doing "day's work," as they call 
washing by the day at the employer's house. There is every 
evidence that sending out the washing instead of keeping a 
laundress as one of the regular domestics is more satisfactory 
both to employer and employee; for the laundress would rather 
do the work at home, and often must do it there or not at all, 
when there are young children in her family, while the em- 
ployer gains a peaceful Monday and Tuesday by having the 
work done out, besides saving the slight but constant expense 
of coal and washing supplies. Aside from these 1097 individual 



Ideals of Betterment. 505 

laundresses in the ward, there are also two regular laundries 
managed by Negro families, where all the working members 
of the family are busily employed for six days in the week 
with the work of a large number of families. Such colored 
people as these are justly jealous of the work given to China- 
men, while many native Negroes cannot get work to do. There 
is no doubt that successful and excellent laundries would grow 
up under the management of Philadelphia colored men and 
women if employers could be satisfied to ' ' put the washing 
out" and to admit the possibility of having clothing laun- 
dered on some other week day \ than that which was usual in 
the Plymouth colony. . The domestic economy of America 
to-day is more complex than was that of the Plymouth colony, 
and we can very easily make due allowance for the fact, by 
letting our laundresses choose their own " Monday." 

Another branch of domestic work showing the specializing 
tendency is that known as " general work," which with men 
servants usually denotes care of furnaces, cleaning the front of 
the house, etc. Nearly all of these men do such work for a con- 
siderable number of families and devote their entire time to it. 
One man was encountered who was in charge of the furnaces 
and ' ' outside work ' ' of not less than eight different establish- 
ments. In this direction employers could easily co-operate to 
effect further specialization, as only a little over two per cent of 
Negro male wage-earners are at present general workers. It was 
observed that such men were found almost exclusively in the 
more fashionable and wealthy quarter, while elsewhere the 
waiter manservant undertook the outside work as part of his 
duty. The specializing tendency in this department of Negro 
service is much less marked than in the laundry work. Still 
progress in the right direction is practicable, since the tendency, 
though not greatly developed, still exists. 

A much more significant fact in the matter of specialization 
of work is the presence in the Seventh Ward alone, of eighty- 
three colored caterers and cateresses, whose employment by 
families who entertain to any extent surely diminishes the 
need in those families for the services of such large numbers 
of domestics as would otherwise be employed by them. The 
use of such outside professional help is clearly a development 
in the right direction and the service thus secured is manifestly 



506 Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

better, because skilled. It is equally evident that it is cheaper 
to employ a caterer periodically than to keep an extra number 
of trained domestics permanently employed in the household 
for such occasions. Here again, then, specialization is found 
actually at work among the colored people of Philadelphia. 

A fourth instance of it which is found in the city is worth 
citing. This is a Woman's Exchange. The preparation of 
foods, such as fruit in glass jars, preserves, jellies, pickles, 
etc. , and the making of simple garments, underwear, aprons, 
shirt waists, baby's caps, etc., are the kinds of work spe- 
cialized upon by the " Exchange for Women's Work," lo- 
cated at 756 South Twelfth street, in connection with the 
parsonage of Bethel Church. This Exchange is outside the 
Seventh Ward, but is so notable a case of the tendency here 
discussed that it seems well to mention it. The articles offered 
for sale are of excellent quality and are sold at moderate 
prices. The investigator has noticed, in a high grade pro- 
vision store on Chestnut street, not far from Rittenhouse 
square, that jellies, jams and fruits are offered for sale bearing 

conspicuous sale cards marked, " Miss 's Pickled 

Peaches," " Miss 's Currant Jelly," etc. This suggests 

that there might be an exchange for colored women's work at 
such provision stores and high grade groceries if the proprietors 
could be induced to co-operate, as many of them doubtless 
could be by judicious and business-like suggestions from their 
leading customers or from some well known and influential 
organization of women. Colored women who have unusual 
skill in the preparation of any kind of foods might in this way 
be able to place their goods advantageously, greatly to their 
own benefit and also to that of the community of which they 
form often an unemployed part. 

To sum up : the facts of colored domestic service which can 
be laid hold of and developed along the lines of specialization 
of household work then, are these facts connected with 
" Extra Service " : (1) Laundry work can be done more con- 
veniently and as cheaply or more cheaply outside of the house 
than within it, and many excellent laundresses among the 
married colored women are anxious to get such work to do. 
(2) " Outside work," furnace work, etc., can similarly be done 
by men making it their business, and a man servant thus be 



Ideals of Betterment. 507 

left free for other duties or dispensed with altogether. (3) 
Patronage of caterers rather than the employment of supernu- 
merary domestics is a step tending to simplify household work 
in large establishments and the employment of competent 
colored caterers a step tending to simplify the problem of 
unemployed colored men in Philadelphia. (4) Anything tend- 
ing to extend the patronage of exchanges for women's work, 
and by inducing competition in such work, to cheapen articles 
so offered for sale, is a step in the direction of taking food 
preparation outside the household, and anything tending to 
secure a steady sale for the work of skilled colored cooks in 
such exchanges is a -step in the direction of solving the 
1 ' colored unemployed ' ' problem of Philadelphia with all the 
degradation and suffering implied in that problem. 

In regard to the second possible remedy proposed by Miss 
Salmon, it can only be said that the method of profit-sharing 
is as practicable with colored as with white or foreign em- 
ployees — perhaps more so since colored domestics are prover- 
bially " anxious to please." 

The third possible remedy suggested — thorough education 
in household affairs — aims to remove the odium now attaching 
to domestic service and to attract competent people to the 
employment by raising it to the rank of a profession. The 
Philadelphia colored people have already thought this subject 
through for themselves. A woman physician who is well 
known in Philadelphia, one of the most intelligent and interest- 
ing women of either race, said to the present investigator: " If 
domestic service were made more honorable, more tolerable, 
more human, it would not be so unpopular. If we had good 
training-schools for service it would become an honorable 
branch of business. Mr. Booker Washington believes in ' put- 
ting brains into common work,' and that is just what I say 
about domestic labor. If a girl is taught to cook skillfully and 
to buy economically she becomes a dignified laborer. A trained 
worker is always honorable and dignified. I have often said 
there should be a school to train domestics. Many girls want 
to work who can' t get the'opportunity. If you ask them ' What 
do you understand doing ? — What do you represent ?' they say, ' I 
don't know how to do anything well;' it is a most lamentable 
answer and a most common one. But they want to learn; if 



508 . Special Report on Negro Domestic Service. 

you ask, ' Would you go and work for fifty cents a week and be 
trained?' they will say: 'yes, willingly.' And I believe that 
we should have a school of instruction with a regular course, 
where graduates who reach a certain degree of excellence get a 
certificate of efficiency. Let this school be an employment 
bureau also. Such an arrangement would be a help both ways, 
to the employees and to the competent among the employed." 

That this idea of Dr. 's could be made workable seems 

unquestionable when we study the situation in London as 
shown by Mr. Booth. There the girls from the workhouse 
schools, who have only the merest rudiments of training in 
hous